Pekka Rinne delivers critical win for Predators

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With the hockey world bearing down on him, Predators goalie Pekka Rinne delivered and put his teammates on his back.

Rinne made 27 saves beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final Saturday night.  None of those saves were bigger than the two he turned away in the second period on the exact same play the Penguins used to beat Rinne and Nashville in Game 2.

That could turn out to be the biggest play of the series if Rinne keeps it rolling and he knows it.

“For sure I hope so, it was a key moment tonight for sure,” Rinne said. “Last game they connected the same play they came down and shot it to my pad and I’m sure they tried to do that.”

(Photo: WKRN)

It did not look good early for Rinne who, after two subpar efforts in Games 1 and 2, gave up a goal on the first shot of the game.  Those two saves in the second period helped propel him to 27 in a row.

Rinne said it helped get him rolling, “The second period helped me. I was able to see the puck pretty good, make a couple of saves and they started to shoot the puck more.”

Head coach Peter Laviolette has been behind his goalie the whole way and was not surprised by the performance he got, “His game tonight was rock solid.  He was, uh, he saw the puck well. He moved well. He got out and stopped pucks. He set up pucks for our defensemen.”

It was Rinne’s 1st career win against Pittsburgh.  Now he needs three more to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.