With disappointing results in a back-to-back performance to open the season, Pekka Rinne had another opportunity to get Nashville’s first win of the season. In their home opener at Bridgestone Arena, the third time was the charm for Rinne and the Predators.
After being replaced in Nashville’s 4-2 season opening loss to St. Louis, and playing strong but dropping the second game of the season 2-1 to Colorado, Rinne stopped 32 shots to lift the Predators into the win column against the still-winless Minnesota Wild.
“It was great to get this win. We’ve been working hard. Sometimes pucks are bouncing for you, but I think we deserved our chances. They got their powerplay goal and our powerplay responded right away. I think it was a great job overall. When we got the lead, we played really well overall as a team,” said Predators netminder Pekka Rinne.
Rinne saw a heavy amount of time on special teams against the Wild, playing 6:51 of his 59:59 in shorthanded situations, nearly a full ten percent of the game a man down.
“We had to kill a lot of penalties, our penalty kill did a really good job even though they got two powerplay goals, but as a team we defended really well. I think that’s the one thing we can take from this game and build on,” said Rinne.
Although Rinne stopped 33 of 35 shots against the Avalanche on Friday night, Nashville’s frustration mounted with a 3-1 loss and an 0-2 start to the season. With home ice advantage tonight and over the course of the next four games, Rinne and the Predators are ready to take full advantage of it.
“For sure it’s a little bit frustrating in the season to go down, but it’s hockey and it’s part of the game. It shows our character, it doesn’t really do anything. Everybody knows we’re still going to win games if we play as a team,” said Rinne. “If you can choose, nobody wants to go down 0 and 2. We just played two really hard games and we know our game is not that bad. Obviously, we need to take care of our home games and we have a good chance here. We have four more to go in a row, so I think right now we can just focus on that.”
Now three games into the year after recovering from hip surgery during the off-season, Pekka Rinne is beginning to look more like the goaltender Nashville was used to seeing in the 2011-2012 season. Having two straight 30+ save performances in his first three outings can only help Rinne’s comfort level and confidence as the season progresses.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played hockey. In between [the seasons], I had the surgery and the long recovery, I haven’t been on the ice that much. It feels great to get a little bit of rhythm and playing games, getting tired out there, and powering through it, just getting more comfortable out there all the time,” said Rinne.
Photo Credit – Sarah Fuqua
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