Pekka Rinne is off to a magnificent start for the Nashville Predators in 2019-20. On Thursday, Rinne made 26 saves for his first shutout of the season and 56th of his career as the Predators blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 in an all Central Division matchup between two teams going in opposite directions.
Rinne collected 13 saves in the first period, five saves in the second period and eight saves in the third period. Wild captain Mikko Koivu led Minnesota in shots on goal with four. Offensively for the Predators, Colton Sissons led Nashville in scoring with one goal and one assist for two points. Other Predators goal scorers were Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok and Miikka Salomaki. Like Rinne, Salomaki is also from Finland.
This was the second time this season that Rinne has beaten the Minnesota Wild. On October 3, in the Predators’ opening game to start the season, Rinne made 22 saves in a 5-2 Nashville win at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. Thursday night’s game between the Predators and Wild was also in Nashville. Rinne’s other wins this year have come against the San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals, Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks.
In seven starts for the Predators in 2019-20, Rinne has a record of six wins and one shootout loss. He has a goals against average of 1.98 and a save percentage of .931. Rinne has only given up 14 goals and has 189 saves.
Rinne has been so valuable to the Predators, the team has been very shaky when backup Juuse Saros has been in between the pipes. In three games, Saros has lost all three starts with a poor goals against average of 4.74 and save percentage of .853. Like Rinne, Saros has given up 14 goals, but has played in 247 fewer minutes than Rinne.
The Predators are currently tied for second place in the Central Division with the St. Louis Blues. Both the Predators and Blues are at 13 points and two points back of the division leading Colorado Avalanche. The Wild are last in the Central Division with six points.