Pekka Farewell

It wasn’t a guarantee that May 10, 2021, would be beloved goaltender Pekka Rinne’s last game as a Nashville Predator. But with the mighty Finn in the last year of his deal with the team that drafted him in the eighth round (which no longer even exists) of the 2004 draft, and with countryman Juuse Saros solidified as the goalie of the future, it felt like time. So Rinne put on a show for the socially distanced crowd at the regular-season finale. He made 30 saves against the Carolina Hurricanes, notching his 60th career shutout. There were all the acrobatics, the desperation and the glove magic that made the humble man in the mask the face of the franchise. After the game, the big man who so often shunned the spotlight took a celebratory lap around the Bridgestone Arena ice, taking in some much-deserved adulation from the fans and getting hugs and handshakes from his teammates, who streamed out for his curtain call. No one wanted to see Pekka go, but there was no better way to say goodbye.

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