Pekka Rinne has not been in net for the Nashville Predators since Oct. 22 when he was sidelined after a surgery on his hip to take care of an E.Coli infection. Since then, Carter Hutton, Marek Mazanec, Magnus Hellberg and Devan Dubnyk, acquired in a trade with Edmonton in January, have all handled the load in goal.
Since Rinne's last start, the Predators have dropped in the Western Conference standings. Entering Monday, they sit 12th in the conference and four points out of the last wild card spot.
So as Nashville looks to make a playoff charge with 21 games remaining, they'll be getting a big upgrade in net very soon. After missing 51 games, Rinne is re-joining the Predators this week, with an expected return start on Tuesday against Pittsburgh.
Rinne made two rehab starts with the Predators AHL affiliate in Milwaukee over the weekend, stopping 33 of 35 shots faced in two games.
"It's been a long time since I'd played games," said Rinne. "It was a great opportunity for me to come back here to Milwaukee. I feel like it went both ways. I feel like I helped the team out a bit and they helped me to get back into game action."
On the ice with the Predators for the practice on Monday, Rinne said after his final rehab start that he's "ready to go," giving head coach Barry Trotz a decision to make with the Penguins coming to town.
To make room for Rinne, Devan Dubnyk was sent down to Milwaukee, but not before having to pass through waivers first.
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