If this is it for Finnish goaltender Pekka Rinne in Nashville, what a run it was.
Rinne pitched a 30-save shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday in what many believe was his final game as a member of the Nashville Predators. 26-year-old Juuse Saros has taken over the crease and is expected to start Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against Carolina.
Rinne has spent all 15 seasons of his NHL career with the Predators, but he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. There’s rumors circling around that Rinne wants to retire a Predator instead of offering his services to another NHL team.
After the game ended between Carolina and Nashville, Rinne received a massive ovation from the Nashville crowd at Bridgestone Arena. The 38-year-old Finnish legend did a victory lap and acknowledged the crowd as they chanted his name.
Pekka Rinne records a shutout in what could be his final game as a Nashville Predator. Does a victory lap as he receives a massive ovation. pic.twitter.com/2RjeYJpnZS
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 11, 2021
“I never wanted it to be about me…but truly truly appreciate what happened tonight,” Rinne told reporters after the game. “I haven’t made any concrete plans about my future. But if it is [my last], I’m pretty happy. When that day comes, I’ll be looking back at what happened [tonight]. We still have bigger and better things ahead.”
In 682 career games with the Predators, Rinne owns a 368-213-75 record with a .917 save percentage and 2.44 GAA. His shutout against the Hurricanes was the 60th of his career, which puts him 19th on the NHL’s all-time list.
We don’t know if Nashville will bring Rinne back to be Saros’ backup in 2021-22, but the ovation Monday shows just how much Rinne has meant to this team and organization.