Rinne named NHL’s first star of the month

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The Nashville Predators badly needed Pekka Rinne to bounce back after his third sub-par season in the last four years.

So far, he’s delivered.

Today, Rinne was named the NHL’s first star of the month, after going 9-1-2 with a .949 save percentage in November.

Rinne has started all but four of the Predators’ 22 games. Young Juuse Saros is the current backup, after Marek Mazanec struggled in the No. 2 role and was eventually assigned to the AHL.

While Saros, 21, was good in his only two starts, Rinne is the veteran with the $7 million cap hit. Last season, the 34-year-old didn’t play like one of the NHL’s highest-paid goalies, when he finished with a .908 save percentage in 66 starts.

The Preds as a team have been much better since a rocky start to the current season, but there have still been games when Rinne has been busy. Tuesday in Colorado, he made 37 saves in a 5-3 victory over the Avs. His overall record sits at 10-5-3 with a .934 save percentage.

Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid were the second and third stars of the month, respectively.