Rinne dominated the Red Wings in two starts in February and will likely be in goal for Saturday night’s Central Division matchup at Bridgestone Arena.
Rinne improved to 4-2-2 with a 1.84 goals-against average in eight starts in March after making 35 saves in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime victory over Boston. His 2.11 overall GAA is the best of his career.
“Peks today was spectacular,” Trotz said. “He kept us in there all game, and that’s why I think he’s a Vezina and a Hart candidate.”
Rinne is 7-2-2 with a 2.06 GAA and three shutouts in 11 career starts against Detroit (43-20-8), stopping 69 of 70 shots in two wins last month. The Red Wings’ lone regulation victory in his last 10 starts against them came in a 5-2 win Oct. 30.
Detroit has won four straight overall as it closes in on the division title with a 10-point lead over Chicago. The Red Wings lead San Jose by four points in the race for the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed.
Nashville (36-25-10) has a greater sense of urgency in ninth place in the West - one point behind eighth-place Calgary. The Predators rallied to tie Thursday’s game on David Legwand’s(notes) goal in the third period before Shea Weber(notes) scored the winner.
Weber’s goal gave him five points in five games. He has at least one point in all 18 home wins compared to his total of three in the Predators’ 15 losses at Bridgestone Arena.
“Our chances are starting to slim,” Weber said. “We need to step up and win games now. Hopefully tonight will give us confidence for Detroit.”
The Predators are completing a five-game homestand as part of a stretch in which 12 of their last 15 are at home.
“You talk about inspiring, the crowd was fantastic, especially in the third when we were running a little bit on fumes and getting a little bit discouraged,” Trotz said. “They were fantastic. We’re going to need them Saturday night, we’re going to need them right to the bitter end.”
The Red Wings won 3-2 over Washington on Wednesday and 2-0 at Columbus on Thursday. Drew Miller(notes) scored 33 seconds into Thursday’s game and backup Joey MacDonald(notes) made 37 saves for his second career shutout.
“We scored on the first shift and that line was good all night,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Then we relaxed and got a little sloppy. We weren’t near as good as we were (Wednesday) but we found a way to win on the road in back-to-back nights.”