With healthy Rinne, Preds off to great start

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Back in September, we wondered if a healthy Pekka Rinne could help turn the Nashville Predators into a surprise team in the tough Western Conference.

Fast forward to the present and, we have to say, a healthy Rinne has really helped turn the Nashville Predators into a surprise team in the tough Western Conference.

In fact, after nine games, the Preds (6-1-2) have the highest points percentage (.778) in the NHL.

Rinne has started eight games, going 6-1-1 with a .936 save percentage. His best performance was a 31-save shutout in Winnipeg. His worst? It wasn’t even that bad, allowing three goals on 26 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Penguins.

On Wednesday, the Preds halted the Oilers’ four-game winning streak with a 4-1 victory in Edmonton.

Despite the hiring of a new offensive-minded coach in Peter Laviolette, Nashville still doesn’t score a ton of goals. But with the NHL’s top-ranked defense giving up just 1.78 goals per game, it hasn’t needed to.

Nashville plays in Calgary tonight and Vancouver Sunday.