Pekka Rinne

Video: Rinne shines with spectacular series of saves

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How, exactly, did the San Jose Sharks not score here on Pekka Rinne?

The Nashville Predators goalie made a spectacular sequence of saves, including one off Joe Pavelski despite the sound of the whistle, early in the second period of Tuesday’s game. At that point, the Predators had a healthy three-goal lead.

The Predators went to defeat the Sharks 5-1. Rinne made 42 saves. That’s now six wins in a row for the Predators, who increased their lead in the Central Division to six points, and in the NHL’s overall standings.

With that kind of goaltending, and that kind of talent on the blue line, they could be a force to be reckoned with once the playoffs come around.

On the other hand, the Sharks, in a fight to even make the playoffs, remain in the final Wild Card spot for right now, but the L.A. Kings are only two points back.

Goalie nods: It has to be Johnson for the Isles… right? (Update: Yep)

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All the latest from the crease…

Who goes for New York?

The Islanders won’t announce their starting goalie until 5 p.m. ET today, so we don’t know if it’s Chad Johnson or Jaroslav Halak in net for tonight’s affair against Carolina.

Update: It’s Johnson.

One would suspect Johnson gets the nod, given tonight is the second of a back-to-back; Halak played last night, and allowed six goals on 42 shots in an emotional loss to the Rangers.

That said, head coach Jack Capuano could possibly be persuaded to let Halak try and bounce back; the 29-year-old Slovak looked rattled and a bit shaky as the Blueshirts made a concerted effort to get into his kitchen.

Related: The Isles are surrendering too many goals

“I want to get shots,” captain Ryan McDonagh said, per Newsday. “We wanted to make it more difficult on Halak tonight than in other past games. He’s been a big difference in why we haven’t been able to beat them in the past.

“We talked about getting in front of the net and making it tough on him, make him fight through screens. We were a lot hungrier in front of him for sure.”

No word yet on who’ll start in goal for the ‘Canes.

Elsewhere…

Blue Jackets at Flyers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Ray Emery

Caps at Pens: Braden Holtby vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Sabres at Devils: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Michal Neuvirth likely for Buffalo.

Panthers at Leafs: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Bernier

Stars at Blues: Brian Elliott for St. Louis, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Sharks at Preds: Alex Stalock for San Jose, Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville.

(Video) PHT Extra: Do the Preds have the best defense in the NHL?

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The Nashville Predators may not have an elite center like Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews, but with the addition of Cody Franson from Toronto, their defense could line up as follows in the postseason:

Roman Josi — Shea Weber
Seth Jones — Cody Franson
Mattias Ekholm — Ryan Ellis

Now put goalie Pekka Rinne behind that blue-line corps, and you can see what GM David Poile was thinking when he made the trade.

Watch:

Hossa, Toffoli, Rinne named NHL’s three stars of the week

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Chicago’s Marian Hossa, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne have been named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 15, the league announced on Monday.

The details:

Hossa led the NHL with five goals and tied for second in the League with six points to help the Blackhawks (35-18-4, 74 points) pick up points in all four of their games.

Toffoli shared second in the NHL with four goals and six points to power the Kings (25-18-12, 62 points) to a trio of victories, moving the club within three points of a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

Rinne went 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average and .954 save percentage to backstop the first-place Predators (38-12-6, 82 points) to three straight wins.

Hossa’s breakout performance came after a sluggish start to the season, in which he scored just 10 goals in his first 52 games (including an ugly month of November, when he scored one in 14.) The 36-year-old Slovak is still on pace for a 60-point season, however, which would match last year’s total when he scored 30 goals and 30 assists.

Goalie Nods: Howard returns for Detroit

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Howard returns from groin injury

Jimmy Howard will make his first start since Jan. 10 tonight when the Detroit Red Wings play host to the Winnipeg Jets. Howard missed 10 games with a groin injury. He made four saves in relief of Petr Mrazec on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Howard is 16-7-7 with a 2.09 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage this season.

Michael Hutchinson is expected to start for the Jets.

Elsewhere…

Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price

Blue Jackets at Islanders: Anton Forsberg vs. Jaroslav Halak

Rangers at Coyotes: Cam Talbot vs. Mike Smith

Hurricanes at Wild: Anton Khudobin vs. Devan Dubnyk

Devils at Predators: Cory Schneider vs. Pekka Rinne

Stars at Avalanche: Jhonas Enroth vs. Semyon Varlamov

Canucks at Flames: Ryan Miller vs. Karri Ramo

Capitals at Kings: Braden Holtby vs. Jonathan Quick