Pekka Rinne is likely to be the Nashville Predators’ starting goalie in Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals.
Rinne was one of only six Nashville players who took to the ice Friday – a day of “active rest” for the team – but the injured netminder stayed on for roughly 45 minutes and tested himself in a variety of ways. He called it the most activity he’s had since he left in the third-period of Nashville’s season-opening victory against Anaheim last Saturday with a lower body injury.
“It felt good to be on the ice,” Rinne said. “I took some shots and really tried to push myself. It was a good skate. … I felt good. I have no clue what’s the gameplan yet, but I’m sure we’ll talk about it.
“But, yeah, I’m just really excited to be on the ice and to feel really good. … Hopefully I’ll get to go.”
All that remains is to see how Rinne’s body responds overnight and in the hours leading up to the 7 p.m. faceoff at Bridgestone Arena.
“We’ll see after (Friday) but there’s a good chance he will play (Saturday),” coach Barry Trotz said. “I need for him to go, ‘I’m 100 percent. I’m ready to go.’”
After Thursday night’s games, Nashville (3-0-0) and Washington (3-1-0) were two of just five teams in the NHL with three victories, and they were sixth and seventh, respectively, in goals per game.
Even with rookie Anders Lindback having played the last two-plus games, the Predators have allowed an average of just two goals per game, which was tied for third-best in the league.
Rinne stopped 29 of 30 shots he faced before he was injured. Lindback stopped 62 of 65 since and registered victories in his first two starts.
“You don’t want to risk anything and you just want to get back to being fully healthy, and it’s a long season,” Rinne said. “But at the same time it’s so hard to watch those games and not be there with your teammates.”