DETROIT – Two weeks before the playoffs began, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne stood in the visitors' dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, sizing up his likely first-round opponent, the Detroit Red Wings.
"Just cross your fingers," he said with a laugh.
He talked about Pavel Datsyuk ("extremely skilled"), Henrik Zetterberg ("always plays hard"), Johan Franzen ("great shooter"), Valtteri Filppula ("has been amazing"), Jiri Hudler ("has played well").
He sighed and looked back at the white board behind him.
"You go through the whole lineup," he continued, talking about Todd Bertuzzi ("big body but still soft hands") and the rest. "They have good balance throughout their lineup and plus a really good goalie."
Ah, but Rinne is a really good goalie, too. Really, really good. So good that he led the Preds back to the Joe, where the Wings had the NHL's best home record in the regular season; so good that he stared down all that talent, which generated the league'sRead More »from Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne making all the difference in first-round showdown