Tonight’s match up against the Nashville Predators not only matches two teams set to make playoffs runs, but also two stellar goaltenders.
Both Marc-Andre Fleury and Pekka Rinne sit atop the league’s goalies with 39 wins apiece. The game tonight will decide which goalie becomes the first to hit 40. We know about MAF and how he has been this season, but what about Rinne?
Rinne, when he wins his 40th game, which will happen, hopefully not against the Penguins though, will win 40 for the first time in his career. At 39 wins he already has the Nashville Predators record for wins. Going into tonight’s game, Rinne has a .923 save percentage to Fleury’s .916. But Fleury has something Rinne does not. He has the Pittsburgh Penguins firepower.
The Penguins have scored 30 more goals collectively than the Predators and also have the league’s leading scorer in Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins have multiple players on hot streaks, and even though Brad Thiessen let in four goals Tuesday against Winnipeg, the Penguins scored eight goals to ensure the win.
With the current hot streaks of James Neal, Pascal Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy scored two in the last game, maybe he gets another tonight, Malkin and Sidney Crosby, Fleury may have an easier time than Rinne between the pipes.
There has been talk throughout the NHL that this game could be a preview of the Stanley Cup Final. Tonight’s game is the last the Penguins will play against Western Conference opponents, but they have fared well against the conference this season. Stanley Cup preview or not, this game will be an exciting one as both starting goalies chase the big 40.