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Predators getting by thanks to Pekka

Feb 15, 2013, 1:24 AM EDT

Rinne Getty Images

The Nashville Predators are at the bottom of the National Hockey League in scoring.

They’ve also won five of their first seven games to begin the February portion of their schedule, thanks in large part to the red-hot play of goaltender Pekka Rinne.

On Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes, Rinne stopped all 19 shots he faced to backstop the Predators to a 3-0 win.

All three goals came in the third period. Suddenly the Predators, losers of five of their first six games, albeit three of those defeats were in the shootout, are now fourth in the Western Conference with a 7-3-4 record.

Thursday marked Rinne’s third shutout in the last four games.

“I don’t know where we’d be without Pekka,” Nashville blue liner Ryan Ellis told

“He’s the best goaltender in the world.”

With a team that ranks at the bottom of the league in goals-for – at a rate of 1.86 goals per game – the goaltending has to be good.

So, too, does the defense.

“Everything we do if you’re going to be successful, it starts with being able to defend, and once you’re able to defend, everything sort of piggybacks off that,” head coach Barry Trotz said to The Tennessean.

  1. mclovinhockey - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    It sure ain’t due to weber. 27 mill this calendar year and arguably his worth year so far.

  2. scionofflame - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Pekka has been flat out amazing for the Predators and I’m glad to see it. The scoring touch seems to be very slowly returning to the team, and my hope is that we don’t wear Pekka down too hard before playoff time.

    Maybe this year he’ll manage to get a trophy or two!

    • 19to77 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      If they make the postseason with a low enough GAA and he stays anywhere near this hot, I’d count him as a serious candidate for the Hart. When you’re winning every game by 1-0 or 2-1, your goalie is absolutely carrying your team on his back.

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