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Thursday notes: Pekka Rinne takes on the world

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The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is moving rapidly along, with two teams (Philadelphia and Detroit) on the brink of elimination already. Tonight, in fact, the Red Wings will try to keep their hopes alive on home ice against the Sharks.

After the jump, we've got a look at Pekka Rinne's role on Team Finland, news that Rinne may square off against two former Predators goalies at the Worlds, and some video of Steve Sullivan and Dan Ellis talking about their exploits on Twitter.

Last Night In The Playoffs

Boston 4, Philadelphia 1: The Bruins are now up 3-0 on the Flyers, and are just one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals. Thanks to the Phil Kessel trade, they've also got the #2 pick in the draft coming up. Yikes...

Chicago 5, Vancouver 2: The Blackhawks took back home-ice advantage as Dustin Byfuglien notched a hat trick. The return of Brian Campbell has allowed him to go back to playing forward, where he's a load to handle in front of the net.

Predators News

Preds On The Glass: Dan Ellis and Steve Sullivan Discuss Twitter and Thursday Tid-Bits
Buddy's morning recap includes more video from the Preds last day at Bridgestone Arena last week.

TEAM Finland -
Pekka Rinne is expected to be the #1 goalie for Finland entry at the World Championships, which begin tomorrow in Germany.

Nashville Predators won't be specific when targeting top NHL draft pick - The Tennessean
Expect the Preds to stick to their "best player available" philosophy at draft time. Given the length of time before draft picks are NHL ready (2-5 years), that's absolutely the right way to go.

Around the NHL

For Chris Mason, it's pleasure before business -
As an upcoming free agent, common sense tells Chris Mason that he shouldn't play in the World Championship due to the risk of injury. But that's not stopping him. Tomas Vokoun will play for the Czech Republic, making the Worlds a virtual Nashville Predators goaltending convention.

Blues Prospect Returning to Sweden? | Hockey Independent
St. Louis is losing defenseman Jonas Junland to the Swedish Elite League. In related news, the Preds have until June 1 to sign Anders Lindback (Swedish goalie drafted in 2008) or they'll lose his rights.

Best B.S. After-the-Fact Explanations for why the Capitals lost - Behind The Net
Funny, funny stuff here!

10 Reasons Why The East is the JV Tournament - View From My Seats
How much does the Eastern Conference stink? Let Matt count the ways.

Armchair GM: Saku Koivu - Anaheim Calling
What should the Ducks do about their veteran forward, who was a defensive stalwart this season?

Gill shuts down opponents - The Globe and Mail
Hal Gill, whose defensive work has been a huge part of Montreal's success this spring, could have taken an entirely different career path, with a scholarship offer to play quarterback for Boston College.

Bruins-Flyers Game 3: Krejci Exits with Injury - The Grinder
One downside for Boston last night was the departure of David Krejci with an upper-body injury (reports indicate that it's a broken wrist, and he's done for the year).

Tim Connolly, Bane Of Western Civilization - Hockey or Die
Jonathan Willis takes a Buffalo writer to task for a lazy hack job on the Sabres forward.

Jack Johnson Named Captain Of Team USA In World Championships - SB Nation
It doesn't sound like any Preds will represent Team USA, but the WC's get started soon in Germany.

Vancouver paper warns local cabbies about Patrick Kane - Puck Daddy
Great stuff from CanuckLand...

Irreverent Oiler Fans: Blocked Shots: Luck or Skill?
Very interesting stuff here from Sunny Mehta - the bottom line is that it appears that there is no meaningful difference between NHL teams at putting pucks on net (keeping Missed & Blocked Shots low as compared to Shots On Goal), but there is evidence that defensive shot blocking varies significantly.

Jokinen To Sign With KHL Club Dinamo Minsk? - Matchsticks and Gasoline
Not many NHL fans will miss Olli Jokinen, one of the most curiously under-performing hockey players of recent years.