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Predators' Rinne cleared to increase activity @NHLdotcom

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne took another step in his return to the lineup when informed by doctors Monday that he may increase his physical activity in practice.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said a meeting was planned for later Monday to set a weekly plan Rinne going forward. Last Thursday Rinne joined his teammates for practice for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery for a hip infection Oct. 24. In nine games before leaving the lineup Rinne had a 2.31 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

"Our destination is to get Pekka back in the net at some point," Trotz said. "Whenever that happens, that happens. It feels a lot better than it was a month ago or six weeks ago."

Rinne, who could spend some time with the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment, told reporters that he's optimistic about his recovery.

"The next step is playing games, and hopefully that is really soon here," Rinne said.

The Predators return to action Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They're four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 23 games remaining.

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