Nashville Predators: 5 Reasons Pekka Rinne Deserves a Spot in the All-Star Game

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 21, 2012

Nashville Predators: 5 Reasons Pekka Rinne Deserves a Spot in the All-Star Game

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    Earlier this week, the NHL announced the roster for this year's All-Star Game. The goalies making the trip to Ottawa are as follows:

    - Brian Elliott (Blues)

    - Jimmy Howard (Red Wings)

    - Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers)

    - Carey Price (Canadiens)

    - Jonathan Quick (Kings)

    - Tim Thomas (Bruins: voter selection)

    Sorry, I must have missed Pekka Rinne's name on the list. No? He got snubbed?

    What a tragedy. 

    Here are just a few reasons why the Preds goaltender was given the shaft by not being included in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. 

1. Best Defender on the Team

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    When you put Nashville Predators and defense in the same sentence, only two names surface for the average hockey follower: Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. 

    Not so fast.

    Remove Rinne from the net, and the two-star blue-liners take a massive step backward (along with the Preds' chances of making the playoffs). Nashville has won 62.5 percent of their games played with Rinne this season, and a shocking 28.5 percent without him.

2. More Qualified Than Some

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    Can you believe a second-string goaltender made the All-Star Game this year?

    Brian Elliott (21 games) hasn't even started the most games in goal for his team behind Jaroslav Halak (25 games). His 15-5-1 record is nevertheless impressive, but Halak is still widely considered the No. 1 guy for the Blues. 

    Carey Price boasts an ugly record of 15-17-8 this season. You can't point to his stats to bail him out either, as his goals against average is 2.45 and save percentage is .912, both worse than Rinne. 

3. Extremely Durable

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    Rinne has had to be pushed to his limit this year, as Nashville's backup goalie, Anders Lindback, has been going back and forth from their AHL affiliate Milwaukee due to his inconsistent play.

    He hasn't disappointed. He's second in the league with 42 games played, and fifth in total ice time (2,387:59). His 25 wins are second in the NHL as well. His goals allowed average (2.44) and save percentage (.924) have dropped slightly from last season, but that can be attributed to not getting as much rest as the goalies making the trip to Ottawa.

    Still, those numbers are astounding for someone who has as much on his plate as Rinne. 

4. Better Under Pressure

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    These numbers are just unreal.

    In games where Rinne has faced 35+ shots, he is 12-3-2 with a save percentage of .951. 

    The Predators could use that type of production on the other side of the ice. 

5. He Wins

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    Pekka may have gotten much more credit for his play last season due to his absurdly impressive stats, but he's making a bigger impact on his team this year. 

    Rinne is on pace to win about 50 games this season, despite only winning 33 last season and barely finishing above .500. 

    And in the thick of the playoff hunt, the Preds will need every win they can get.