Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has been around the organization long enough to know what is a signature moment in franchise history.
He knew going into Rogers Arena on Saturday that Game 5 against the Canucks was a big one because it was the first time in Predators’ history that they were facing elimination in the second round. Following the 4-3 win, which was backed by his 31 saves and two goals apiece for Joel Ward and David Legwand, Rinne called it the biggest game in franchise history.
He also had several other things to say about the Predators staving off elimination and forcing Game 6 Monday in Nashville:
Q: What does this win say about your team’s resiliency?
A: That’s the way we are. We’ve done this during the regular season many times, but obviously this is the biggest game so far for us probably in the Preds’ history. For the organization it’s the biggest game ever, and we did a great job. We battled hard, came really strong in the third period, got two big goals from Joel Ward and at the end showed a lot of character, blocking shots, doing the little things, just playing for the team.
Q: You think this is bigger than winning Game 6 against Anaheim to win the first series in franchise history?
A: Oh yeah, it’s second round. At the moment that was the biggest step for our franchise, winning the first round, but now we’re living in a different series and living a new experience. So far this was the biggest win for us.
Q: How big was it for David Legwand to score the tying goal so early in the second period?
A: Overall after that first period, we got the sweat going and got the nerves out and it got a little bit easier for us. To prove to ourselves that we can still come back and the game is not over if we go down 2-1, mentally those are big things.
Q: They say someone has to step up and be a hero. What does it say about Joel Ward that it was him?
A: He’s been great this series. He’s been our best player in this series. It’s great to see. He works hard. He is just a great team guy and typical kind of Predators’ player. He’s getting rewarded for being a tough guy to play against. He always plays against the top lines and now he’s contributing offensively.
Q: Seems like he’s got a pretty good shot, too?
A: It’s a good shot. He has a really long stick and a lot of whip on it. He gets it off pretty good.