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Mid-Week Musings: Rinne for Vezina, Preds in NHLPA Survey, Brisket

Pekka Rinne Making Case for NHL's Top Goaltender; NHL Players Noticing Nashville; Smith and Sissons Make BBQ

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

As athletes get older, their production is supposed to trail off. Pekka Rinne is anything but typical.

The Predators goaltender continues to make his case for a Vezina Trophy nomination as the League's top netminder, and rightfully so. Here is some statistical evidence to consider:

Rinne's 2-0 shutout of Dallas on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena was his seventh shutout of the season and 50th of his career. The single-season number ties a career high Rinne has set twice previously during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns and his seven shutouts are tied for the League lead.

In the midst of his 10th full NHL season - arguably shaping up to be his best yet - the 35-year-old Rinne is an astounding 17-1-1 in his last 19 starts with a 2.03 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and four shutouts. Among all League netminders with a minimum of 35 starts this season, Rinne's .776 win percentage is tops in the NHL and he's the only goaltender with fewer than 10 regulation losses (he's got nine).

Rinne has played a massive role in Nashville's current nine-game win streak - a franchise record - collecting seven of those victories and posting shutouts in two of them, all while continuing to be as humble and generous as they come.

That's worth a Vezina nod, right?

"He's been very consistent all year," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Rinne. "If you think about the beginning of the playoffs last year and how he ended the season, that run to get us to the Final; he was lights out. Right now, this has been a real good, long, consistent stretch of him playing very well… You have to give Pekka credit; 50 shutouts in a career, that's just an unbelievable accomplishment."

Preds, Fans Receive Votes in NHLPA Player Survey:

If they hadn't realized it already, the rest of the hockey world took notice when Nashville and the Predators hosted three games of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, establishing themselves as not only a top team around the League, but also a desirable market to play and visit.

The latest edition of the NHL Players' Association player survey, released on Wednesday morning, included a number of mentions for the Preds, their fans and Bridgestone Arena.

Among the highlights, as voted on by more than 500 current NHL players:

  • Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was voted the third-most difficult goaltender to score on in the League, receiving 9.3 percent of the vote.

  • Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette was voted fifth as the coach a player would most like to play for.

  • Bridgestone Arena finished fifth out of 31 NHL arenas as the building that is the favorite of players to skate in.

  • Predators fans were voted second in the League as the best fanbase, receiving 19.4 percent of the players' vote.

Click here to read the full survey.

BBQ Pitmasters:

Hungry? You're about to be.

After a recent practice at Bridgestone Arena, Craig Smith and Colton Sissons strolled two blocks up Fifth Avenue to Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant to become masters of the barbecue, rubbing down and smoking up some brisket.

Watch them trade in their jerseys for aprons below.

Video: Sissons and Smith prepare Puckett's brisket

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