Fact: No Western Conference team that has made it to the second round has given up more shots per game than the Nashville Predators.
Fact: Nashville’s Pekka Rinne is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
Fact: Rinne will be the goaltending difference-maker to watch out West.
Of the four Western Conference goalies (let’s make that “starting” goalies since all but Detroit’s Jimmy Howard have been relieved by backups at some point), Rinne is the one who throughout the season exhibited the consistent ability to single-handedly steal games, as he nearly did Thursday night in Vancouver in a nearly perfect 29-saves-on-30-shots loss.
Rinne’s performance has led to a sometimes-entertaining hashtag on Twitter: #ThingsInRinnesGlove. Some favorites: “Keyser Soze,” “Charlie Sheens’ dignity,” and “The Real Artem Chubarov.” And god only knows what else is landing in there…
Update 4:03pm PT: Canucks discuss the difficulties and adjustments needed when playing Rinne.