It took less than three minutes for Rinne to re-introduce himself to a sold-out Bridgestone Arena crowd, one that hadn’t seen him play since he underwent surgery for a hip infection in October.
Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby, the NHL’s leading points producer, led an early two-on-one rush straight at Rinne. Crosby zipped a perfect pass across the top of the crease that teammate Chris Kunitz appeared ready to knock home. But Rinne stretched across the crease to make a right pad save.
Not bad for a guy who had missed the Predators’ past 51 games.
Rinne couldn’t stay at that level all game against the Penguins, the Eastern Conference’s best team. Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the game early in the third period, and the Penguins went on to win 3-1.