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.917 save percentage. The Predators have played four other g

Postby carrie567 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:09 am

NASHVILLE -- Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne cant wait to test himself in a game. The Predators, who announced Wednesday that they are sending Rinne to their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, are cautiously waiting to see if the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist can help them chase down a playoff berth. Both Rinne and the team will have a better idea of where he is after the conditioning assignment for games Friday and likely Sunday in this latest step in his recovery from an E. coli infection in his surgically repaired left hip. Rinne has been limited to only nine games this season. Coach Barry Trotz said the Predators will be monitoring Rinne after each practice and game. "Hes at a point where weve got to find out where he is game-wise and also body and mind," Trotz said of Rinne. The Predators start a five-game home stand Thursday night hosting Tampa Bay just four points back of the Western Conferences eighth and final playoff spot with 23 games remaining. They missed the playoffs last year for only the second time in nine seasons. How quickly Rinne rejoins them depends on how he fares in Milwaukee. Rinne practiced with the Predators on Wednesday before travelling to Milwaukee, and he called this a big day with doctors giving him the green light for the latest step in his long recovery. He has been sidelined since Oct. 24 for an infection in the hip surgically repaired May 9, and Rinne said hes focusing on getting his game back and help the Predators. "So far I feel really comfortable," Rinne said. "Im happy how things have gone in practice and how things have gone so far. I think Im actually a little bit surprised its been going so well. But like I said, its still a process but for sure I feel like Im really close to game shape and now its just a final couple of games before I jump on the ice with the Nashville team." Rinne, 31, is sixth in the NHL with 152 wins since the 2008-09 season and has 30 shutouts since 2008-09, which leads all goalies during that time. He hasnt played since Oct. 22 in a 2-0 loss at Minnesota. He is 4-4-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. The Predators have played four other goalies this season trying to make up for Rinnes absence. Currently, Carter Hutton is their starter, and he is 13-9-4 with a .904 save percentage and 2.87 goals-against average. Trotz said what theyve been missing without Rinne is a game-changer who can mean the difference in as many as 20 points in the standings each season. "Hes an elite goaltender and steals games maybe when you dont deserve it," Trotz said. "He can steal points." Trotz said theyre not sure what theyll see from Rinne. "Its not about Pekka coming back and being a saviour," Trotz said. "I think its Pekka coming back and adding to our mix. And if he can get his game to the level close to what hes capable of, were a better hockey team plain and simple. To me, its about Pekka for hopefully the next five or six years. Hes a difference maker." Captain Shea Weber, who practiced with the Predators on Wednesday after helping Canada win the Olympic gold medal Sunday in Sochi, said the Predators are definitely excited about the prospect of Rinne returning to the lineup as they try to chase down a playoff spot. "Weve been through a lot this year and to see what position we put ourselves in here four points out coming in its not going to be easy by any means," Weber said. "If anyone can do it, we can." DJ Moore Youth Jersey . Its like being on Broadway, everything you do matters. Id want to be good though! I couldnt play here if I wasnt very good. #83217388 / gettyimages. 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