Mattias Ekholm owes one to Pekka Rinne, because on Tuesday night the Predators netminder bailed out his defenseman when it looked like Ekholm was about to make an absolutely brutal blunder.
Six minutes into Nashville’s meeting with the Ottawa Senators, Ekholm found himself behind the Predators’ net trying to avoid the oncoming forecheck. As Ottawa’s Mark Stone swung around the net, though, Ekholm took a step out front of his own goal and fired a pass that was intended for P.K. Subban but ended up on the tape of Derick Brassard, setting up a mini 3-on-1 chance for the Senators. That’s when Rinne came through.
Brassard made a quick pass to the front of the net to find an entirely wide open Bobby Ryan, who seemed to have a sure goal on his stick. Instead, Rinne dove across and made an acrobatic left pad stop that stopped the Ottawa attack in its tracks:
Usually, a player’s shot plays a much bigger role in a save like Rinne’s, be it from shooting at a goaltender’s limb or flubbing the opportunity, but that’s not the case here.
Ryan kept his shot toward the middle of the net and he didn’t simply fling it towards the goal. There was some oomph in his release. What made the save possible was that Rinne, instead of keeping his pad along the ice, kicked his left leg up off the ice instead of trying to simply slide across the crease.
Rinne’s play was the difference maker in the outing, too, as he made 33 stops in the victory to get the Predators back on track after two straight shootout losses.
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