Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, still in his pads and skates, was standing at his locker moments after his team clinched a playoff spot Friday night, and the relief was evident on his face.
“It feels great,” Rinne said. “We’ve done a really good job the last 15 games or so. We put ourselves in a good spot and finally, now we’ve clinched (a spot) in the playoffs. It’s a huge thing for our team. It’s nice to see everyone smiling.”
While Rinne was taking a big-picture approach, his coach and teammates were raving about Rinne’s performance during Nashville’s 4-1 win over Columbus. He stopped 44 of 45 shots, including a flurry in the second period that proved to be the game changer.
“To me, he’s our MVP, without a doubt,” Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. “When you talk about who is the most valuable player to his team, which is what the Hart Trophy is about, Pekka has got to be in the top three for me.”