Nashville’s Rinne (hip infection) out at least a month


The Predators suffered a major injury blow on Thursday, announcing that goalie Pekka Rinne would be lost for a minimum of four weeks with a spontaneous bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip.

Rinne, who turns 31 in November, underwent hip arthroscopy during the offseason, a major procedure that sidelined him for nearly four months. The recovery dipped into training camp and the exhibition season, though the Finnish netminder insisted he’d be β€œbe 100 percent on opening night.”

While he was ready to play on opening night, he was hardly 100 percent, getting yanked after allowing three goals on six shots to St. Louis.

Rinne’s been good since, posting a 4-4-1 record with a .917 save percentage and 2.31 GAA, but there now have to be major concerns within the Nashville organization about the health of his hip, especially since he’s only in year two of a seven-year, $49 million contract extension.

The Preds may also have to adjust how they handle Rinne’s workload moving forward.

In 2011-12, he set league highs in games (73), shots faced (2,153) and finished second in minutes played (4,168). In 2013, he appeared in 43 of Nashville’s 48 games and appeared to wear down as the season progressed.

One problem with limiting Rinne’s minutes, though, is the lack of experience behind him. The No. 1 duties in Nashville now fall to Carter Hutton, a 27-year-old ex-Chicago farmhand with exactly three games of NHL experience. Behind Hutton is the recently-recalled Magnus Hellberg, who has never played in the NHL and has just 39 AHL games under his belt.

It’s possible the Preds could go looking for short-term, stopgap goalie help in the interim. Expect to hear Jose Theodore’s and Johan Hedberg’s names come up as potential replacements.

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
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The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.