Thursday January 15th, 2015

NHL Power Rankings: Predators retake top spot as Canadiens plunge

The knee injury suffered by Pekka Rinne on Tuesday night turned out to be more serious than originally reported.

The Nashville Predators initially announced that the goaltender would sidelined for four games, including next weekend's NHL All-Star Game.

That prognosis turned out to be optimistic. It has since been revised to 3-to-5 weeks.

It's tough timing for the netminder who has emerged as the early favorite to win the Vezina Trophy after missing nearly all of last season with a career-threatening hip injury. 

NHL's 2014-15 NHL midseason award winners

While this setback is not thought to be as serious, it will lead to some roster shuffling. In Nashville, the Preds will have to rely on Carter Hutton to hold the fort. The seldom-used backup has made just six appearances this season and has five losses to show for them (0-3-2), but he was a perfect 10-for-10 in relief of Rinne in Tuesday's 5-1 win over Vancouver.

The choice will be a little trickier for the big game in Columbus. Less than a week after the All-Star rosters were announced, Rinne becomes the second goaltender to pull out of the event. Detroit's injured Jimmy Howard will be replaced by Islanders netminder Jaroslav Halak. Pittsburgh's Marc-André Fleury has been tabbed to fill in for Rinne. Despite playing behind an injury-ravaged blueline, Fleury, the Penguins' veteran keeper, is in the midst of a career year, leading the league in shutouts (6) and ranking fifth in wins (22), sixth in goals-against (2.16) and seventh in save percentage (.926). Halak has been a cornerstone of the Islanders' dramatic revival after last season's playoff DNQ.

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