On the bench having been chased not once Seahawks Authentic Jerseys , but twice.
In the Stanley Cup Final.
Now Rinne is back in the postseason once again, and the 6-foot-5 Finn is a big reason why the Nashville Predators won the Presidents’ Trophy with the most points during the regular season. As Rinne prepares for Game 1 on Thursday night against Colorado, he insists last year’s Final provides not so much motivation as experience to use to his advantage along with so many good memories from that thrilling playoff run.
”It’s a different year, obviously different situation, little bit of a different team,” Rinne said. ”But I’m sure you’ll look back at last year’s run, I think there’s a lot of things we can take, a lot of positives all the way through the finals and even after the finals. I think it was an unbelievable experience. I think you try to use that to your advantage.”
Rinne carried last-seeded Nashville all the way to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final by going 12-4 with a .945 save percentage, ranking among the best postseasons by a goalie.
Then came the Final.
In Game 2 against Pittsburgh , Rinne was pulled by coach Peter Laviolette after Nashville gave up three goals in the first 3:18 of the third period of a 4-1 loss. Game 4 was even worse as Rinne gave up three goals on nine shots , lasting only the first period before being replaced by Juuse Saros again. The Predators lost in six games.
Laviolette believes Rinne took the bulk of the blame for those losses when the Predators could have played better in front of their goalie. He also noticed what Rinne did to improve himself.
”Let’s be honest,” Laviolette said. ”He’s been the backbone of this franchise. He was really good down the stretch in order to get us in the playoffs last year, and when the playoffs came Nicklas Backstrom Jersey , he was on point. And that was a big part of it. It was more for me just a continuation. I think there’s always changes. I think Pekka does a terrific job of trying to watch, trying to learn, trying to understand the game better, trying to work at his craft.”
Washington coach Barry Trotz has seen how driven Rinne is. He wants to stop every puck – even in practice.
”He’s extremely competitive and extremely proud, that he plays hard on every puck,” Trotz said of his former goalie. ”It doesn’t matter how tired he is. … He plays every puck to exhaustion. And to me that’s allowed him to stay sharp mentally, and I think it’s allowed him to stay sharp physically because he’s 35 and he still is as quick and explosive as he’s ever been.”
Rinne started working early to prepare for this season. He has worked on his stance in and around the net with Predators goaltender coach Ben Vanderklok to tighten his stance. Planting his skates inside the post rather than outside allows Rinne to be faster tracking a puck, able to push off a post to slide quickly to the other post.
Not a big change for a goalie who turned 35 last November.
”It’s hard to do any drastic changes at this point of your career,” Rinne said.
Rinne has rebounded from losing the Final with a season that finally might win him the Vezina Trophy he missed three other times.
The goalie, who won his 300th career game during the season, posted a career-high eight shutouts with the second-best save percentage of his career at .927. He finished third in the NHL with 42 wins and fifth in goals-against average (2.31). Down the stretch, Rinne was at his best going 23-5-1 with five of those shutouts.
”He was the best goalie of the year,” Colorado forward Mikko Rantanen said.
Rinne also should be rested for the postseason having played only 59 games Nick Foligno Jersey , two fewer than last season and his fewest in an injury-free season since 2009-10 when playing 58 games. Laviolette stuck to a plan trying to ensure Rinne would be as fresh as possible for the playoffs while developing Saros.
As winners of the Presidents’ Trophy, the Predators will have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Smashville is where Rinne went 25-6-2 this season and an impressive 9-2 last postseason, which provides a certain sense of comfort.
”When you think about it, if you take care of all the home games, you win the Stanley Cup so I mean that’s huge,” Rinne said.
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno and AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers sure are getting a lot of attention for a team coming off a six-win season that hasn’t even sniffed the playoffs the past four years.
That’s what a season-ending five-game winning streak and the presence of a potential franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo will do.
One group not buying into all the hype is in the San Francisco locker room.
“There’s no one (here) who thinks we arrived,” said left tackle Joe Staley, the only player left from the Niners‘ last playoff team in 2013. “We have a ton of work to do. We were a 6-10 football team. We were happy with the way we finished last year, but that’s in the past.”
San Francisco put together that sterling 5-0 finish after a dreadful start to the first season under coach Kyle Shanahan that featured nine straight losses to begin the schedule, including a record five straight by three points or fewer.
That all began to change after the team acquired Garoppolo before the trade deadline from New England. After a few weeks to learn the offense, Garoppolo stepped in and showed why the Patriots had groomed him as Tom Brady’s successor.
He completed 67.4 percent of his passes last season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs Cheap Customized Washington Redskins Jerseys , five interceptions and a 96.2 rating to improve to 7-0 in his career as a starter.
Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season, Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season.
But more importantly, he changed the mindset of a whole franchise.
“Jimmy is confident in himself,” Shanahan said. “I think everyone felt that right away. That’s why guys gravitate to guys. It doesn’t matter what people say or how they act. People can tell when people believe in themselves and when they don’t. But, it shows the most on the field. When you’re having success as a quarterback, as a receiver, as anybody, that confidence is only going to grow. When people start seeing you, the more plays you can put together the higher it gets.”
Here are some other things to watch this season:
SHERMAN’S HEALTH: One of the most high-profile moves San Francisco made in free agency was signing Richard Sherman after his release in Seattle. After years of tormenting the Niners, Sherman has flipped sides in the NFC West rivalry. But how effective he will be will depend heavily on his health. His 2017 season was cut short by surgery on his Achilles tendon. Sherman hopes to overcome that at age 30. He was slowed by a hamstring problem in camp, so it’s uncertain how much speed he’s lost from his days as the league’s top cover cornerbacks.
REUBEN’S ROLE: Reuben Foster showed signs of being an elite inside linebacker as a rookie when he was on the field. The problem was he missed five full games with injuries and left several others for periods of time. Having Foster at middle linebacker is key and the Niners have tried to get him to use his hands more to limit the wear and tear on his body. But Foster already will miss the first two games because of a suspension following two offseason arrests, and San Francisco can’t afford to be without him much more.
RUSH THE PASSER: San Francisco failed to generate much pass pressure last year Authentic Mike White Jersey , getting only 30 sacks. Elvis Dumervil was cut after leading the team with 6 ½, and no one else had more than three. Despite the lack of production, DeForest Buckner is one of the league’s top defensive linemen. He generates consistent pressure and could get more opportunities outside to get one-on-one matchups that could lead to more sacks.
DEEP THREAT: One of the most impressive 49ers last year was speedy WR Marquise Goodwin, who smashed his career highs with 56 catches for 962 yards in his first season with San Francisco. The former Olympic long jumper proved he can be more than a deep threat as he ranked in the top six in catches (29) and yards (384) in five games with Garoppolo.
“He’s continued to get better in every facet of his game,” Shanahan said. “He probably hasn’t gotten faster, he’s always been fast. But his hands have gotten better, he’s gotten more consistent. He tracks the ball well. It’s not just catching the easy ones now, he’s starting to make some tough ones.”
RUN THE ROCK: The Niners let Carlos Hyde leave in free agency and replaced him with a more versatile back in Jerick McKinnon. But McKinnon went down with a season-ending knee injury, leaving a big hole on the offense. Alfred Morris was signed midway through camp and could be the main back with little-used Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert the other options.
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