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Pekka Rinne Quietly Impresses Against Blackhawks

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Pekka Rinne got the 2016-17 season started on the right foot

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After giving up two goals in the first 10 minutes, one had to wonder which Pekka Rinne the Predators were going to get Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Rinne answered those questions and then some, shutting out the Blackhawks for the final 50:09 of the Predators 3-2 win.

“I thought he was the best player on the ice,” coach Peter Laviolette said after the game. “He was just outstanding.”

The emergence of the Predators’ power play unit and the debut of P.K. Subban seemed to overshadow what Rinne was able to do after a shaky start. Of course Subban was given plenty of post-game attention but he spent a good portion of it praising his goaltender.

“Let’s give credit where credit is due,” Subban said. “Pekka played outstanding today. To be honest with you, he looks like the guy I saw who was on his way to winning the Vezina not too long ago.”

Last season Rinne posted a 1.61 goals-against-average with a .942 save percentage in 34 wins. In 21 losses however, his goals-against-average jumped to 3.45 and his save percentage dropped to .868.

Even though it is only one game, all signs are pointing positive after only giving up two goals on 24 shots to one of the better offensive teams in the NHL.

“It makes me feel very good having a guy back there doing what he's doing now,” Subban said. “As long as we get that from him every night he's going to give us a chance to win every night, he's that good.”

After shutting out Chicago for the final two-and-a-half periods, Rinne directed the attention away from himself.

“It was a great win,” Rinne said. “We had to work for it until the end, all 60 minutes. It was a great team win. What a great way to start the season for our fans too.”