Rinne ‘100 percent,’ will start for Preds in key tilt vs. Ducks

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After missing the last eight games with a knee sprain, Pekka Rinne will be back in goal for Nashville on Thursday when the Preds take on the Ducks in a top-of-the-table clash.

“I feel really good,” Rinne said, per the team website. “I feel 100 percent and feel ready to go. It’s never a good time to be injured, but I’m feeling good.”

Rinne was enjoying a banner campaign prior to getting hurt against Vancouver on Jan. 13. He was — and still is — the NHL’s wins leader (with 29), and currently boasts a 1.96 GAA and .931 save percentage. Those numbers made him not just Nashville’s MVP through the first half of the season, but also put him in the Hart Trophy conversation as league MVP (along with another goalie, Montreal’s Carey Price.)

His first game back, however, will be a stiff test. The Ducks are tied on 72 points with Nashville atop the NHL standings and the last time the two met, Anaheim narrowly came out on top in a 4-3 shootout win — but it was Carter Hutton in goal for Nashville that night, not Rinne.