Kiprusoff ... Backstrom ... Rinne?

Finland has sent its share of goaltending talent to the NHL in recent years.

Perhaps it’s time to add Pekka Rinne to that list.

He made 30 saves to earn his 20th win and sixth shutout of the season Saturday night as the Nashville Predators rolled to an 8-0 rout of the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

“It’s not going to happen every day that you have a game like that,” Rinne said. “We just executed really well. We were well prepared for this game. But after leading 5-0 in the first period we were wondering what was going on.”

Still, that may have helped the 6-foot-5 Rinne, an eighth-round pick taken 258th overall in 2004, cement rookie of the month honors. In February, he went 9-2-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average, and will enter March having recorded two whitewashes in his last four starts.

“When you have a chance to have a shutout you do everything you can to keep a zero on the scoreboard. At the end that was my personal motivation," Rinne said.

More important, Rinne appears to have moved ahead of Dan Ellis to become the starter for longtime coach Barry Trotz as the Predators make a push for a playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference - the one in which just 13 points separate fifth place from dead last.

At 26, Rinne is not a youngster, but he seems to be looking more like Miikka Kiprusoff or Niklas Backstrom than Vesa Toskala or Kari Lehtonen.

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