NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 28: Jon DiSalvatore #29 of the Minnesota Wild fights for position in front of Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on December 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Forgive me for letting the holidays interrupt the scheduling of a couple of the weekly posts - so keep in mind that this honor covers the week of 12/25-12/31, and does not include yesterday's win over Calgary.
When it was announced that Shea Weber would be out of the lineup with what was ultimately disclosed as a concussion, there was good reason for apprehension among the Nashville Predators fan base. The team's captain and most acclaimed skater is an integral part of every aspect of the team's performance, and given the youth and inexperience prevailing among the rest of the defense corps, it was feared that the Preds would be torn up defensively until Weber's return.
Set against that backdrop, the performance of Pekka Rinne proved essential to the team earning two out of three wins against the #4, 5, and 6 teams in the Western Conference, picking up points which are essential to keeping them in the thick of the playoff hunt.
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Although the Preds fell 4-1 to Detroit to start the week, Pekka's 34-out-of-35 save performance against Minnesota, and 35-out-of-36 save effort against St. Louis both proved to be the difference in making last week a winning one for the Preds.