Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is set to return to action Thursday, three weeks after suffering an injury in the third period of a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 13.
The Finnish netminder was diagnosed with a sprained knee and given a three-to-five week recovery period following the incident and has progressed steadily the past 22 days. Rinne has participated in the team's morning skates since Jan. 29, and is expected to start against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
"I feel really good," Rinne said. "I feel 100 percent and feel ready to go. It's never a good time to be injured, but I'm feeling good."
The NHL's leader in wins with 29, Rinne holds a 1.96 goals-against average, second in the NHL, and a .931 save percentage, also good for second among League goaltenders. Rinne was named to the 2015 All-Star Weekend in Columbus, but was forced to miss the festivities due to the injury.
Preds netminder Carter Hutton started in Nashville's previous meeting with Anaheim on Jan. 4, recording 30 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Ducks. Hutton has seen a bulk of the action with Rinne out of the lineup, including a 4-0 shutout win over Pittsburgh on Sunday and a 4-3 victory over Toronto on Tuesday.
"That's great for Huts, he played a really strong game against one of the top teams, so that's a big win," Rinne said of Hutton's shutout performance in Pittsburgh. "There's been big wins [with Hutton in goal], the same against Washington at home [a 4-3 win], a big point in St. Louis [5-4 shootout loss], but there's been big wins and big points."