NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Predators open up first round play of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks and the team is set in goal thanks to two Finns.
Both Pekka Rinne and his backup Juuse Saros are from Finland and are tasked with the tough job of stopping pucks for the Predators.
Saros credits a lot of his success to Rinne, who just recently played his 500th game. Saros says he grew up watching Rinne and looking up to him. Now, learning from him is a huge bonus.
“It’s been great,” Saros said. “He has helped me so much, and I can learn from him every day. He’s been in the league so many years and working hard every day, and I think it’s a perfect situation to look up to him.”
Rinne has also helped Saros off the ice as well. Pekka is 13 years older than Juuse and welcomed the young finn into his home during the early parts of the season.
“I can’t thank him enough,” Saros said. “He’s been taking care of us Finnish guys, sort of helping us with whatever we need.”
Saros has helped Rinne, too.
Thanks to his steady play in a backup role, Saros has given Rinne more time off than in the previous two seasons.
Those extra few days of rest could give Rinne the extra boost needed for a deep playoff run for the Stanley Cup.
The Preds play games one and two in Chicago on Thursday and Saturday. The series comes to Nashville on Monday for an 8:30 p.m. puck drop.
News 2’s Kara Hammer will be traveling with the team and will have updates from Chicago starting on Thursday.