Pekka Rinne and Roberton Luongo figured to play prominent roles in the Western Conference semifinal series between the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks. No one was more involved than Rinne, the Predators goalie who was named first star of the contest even though his team lost 1-0 in the series opener Thursday before a sellout crowd at Rogers Arena. "He played outstanding all game," center Mike Fisher said. "He was so solid all game and gave us a chance late. He's a big reason why we're 1-0 and why we had a shot." Rinne and Luongo represent two of the three finalists for this year's Vezina Trophy, which is presented annually to the league's top goaltender. They faced off four times during the regular season and allowed 12 goals between them as the Predators and Canucks split the season series. "When you play the top goalies, you want to match them," Rinne said. "You want to always win the goaltending matchup. You think about it a little bit and you prepare yourself to be at that level and hopefully I can back that up." Rinne allowed the game's only goal but outplayed Luongo, who faced 10 fewer shots on the night. It was the fourth time in 13 career playoff appearances Rinne held an opponent to just one goal, but the first time he lost when he did so. "We need to do a better job putting more traffic in front of him," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "Without a doubt, he was their best player."
Rinne shines, teammates stumble as Predators drop Game 1
Nashville City Paper | Apr 29