Penalized players are usually forced to sit and watch as their team tries to ward off an opposition power play, but that’s not the case when a netminder is the one who gets dinged with the infraction. In that case, the penalty has to be served by a skater.
And when Pekka Rinne took his minor penalty for tripping Tuesday night, there was little doubt he would have done whatever it took to keep the puck out of the net until the two minutes were killed off.
Just how serious was Rinne about keeping the puck out of the net on a penalty kill of his own creation? So much so that he made one of the best saves of the season, and one that robbed Arizona Coyotes rookie Max Domi of a goal in such miraculous fashion that the play had to go under review. Take a look:
It’s hard to imagine there will be another shot this season that comes as close as Domi’s without actually getting into the net. The puck was on edge and if it had turned ever so slightly, this would have been ruled a goal. Instead, the puck stayed upright and on an angle, allowing Rinne to use his paddle to stop the puck just before it crossed the goal line.
If there needs to be any more evidence how close this was to crossing the line, the NHL released an NHL Situation Room video regarding the stop and explained that the puck did not entirely cross the line.
Rinne had been average in his past four outings, allowing at least three goals to each of Columbus, Minnesota, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers, and his save percentage and goals-against average had dipped to .910 and 2.33 respectively. His stop on Domi was nothing short of miraculous, though, and it helped Rinne snap his four-game skid and gave the Predators their second win in their past seven games.