Monday, May 11, 2015

Pekka Rinne Jersey Card

There's a lot of talk about goaltending in the current NHL playoffs, some narratives truer than others. Henrik Lundqvist has played well enough to warrant still being The King (and the best goalie in the world), but Braden Holtby has been up to the challenge in facing him after not being quite as good as Jaroslav Halak in the first round.

Carey Price has been outplayed by both Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop so far, and his save percentage for the second round just barely made it back above the .900 mark after Game 5, so Playoff Price is back, but there's no question he was on the ball in the regular season with Vezina and Hart nods, and sharing the Jennings.

In the West, Frederik Andersen has put any doubts about his lack of experience to rest for the Anaheim Ducks, as have Karri Ramo (Calgary Flames), Eddie Lack (Vancouver Canucks), and Scott Darling (Chicago Blackhawks), while Devan Dubnyk, like Price, may have been shown the postseason is a while different animal, as can be seconded by Corey Crawford, who while spectacular at times and arguably one of his team's MVPs with Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane when he was on, was replaced by Darling as the starter in at least a couple of games.

Which brings me to the Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne, who had okay numbers against the Hawks in the opening round, going 2-4 with a 2.68 GAA and .909 save percentage (as well as an assist) against the powerhouse team from Chicago, but he really finished his (also-Vezina-nominated) season with a bang by accepting Team Finland's invitation to play overseas.

Taking inspiration from his incredible performance at last year's edition (where he posted a 170-minute shutout streak, nearly three games long), he actually did better this year, posting an IIHF World Championships record 237-minute shutout streak, including three full shutouts (versus Denmark, Norway and Slovenia), then finally letting a goal in against Belarus.

With performances like these, he's really making King Henrik's stay at the top of the goalie food chain one in which he can't get too comfortable or complacent in - and that's all the better for us hockey fans.

And so I close the run of cards I started last summer with this one showing him with the Preds' former blue (home) uniform, making a spectacular glove save, featuring a white game-worn jersey swatch, from Panini's 2010-11 All Goalies set (card #8 of the Stopper Sweaters sub-set):

These inserts came at one per boxed set, which contained the entire 100-card collection as well; these sets cost $10-15 apiece on Ebay nowadays, but multipacks are available, such as 4 boxes for $30 or 20-box cases for $120-150.

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