Predators activate Pekka Rinne from injured reserve

Paul Skrbina
The Tennessean
Pekka Rinne

Pekka Rinne's 36th birthday present arrived three days early Wednesday, when the Predators goalie was activated from injured reserve. 

Rinne missed five games after colliding with teammate Kevin Fiala during the third period of a victory against the Flames on Oct. 19.

Rinne had been practicing with the team and said the injury was nothing serious. He added that his return date was out of his hands.

"I’m feeling great," Rinne said after practicing with the team Monday.

Clearance came Wednesday morning, meaning goalie Troy Grosenick was reassigned to the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals to make room on the roster for Rinne.

Rinne is 3-1 with a .929 save percentage and 2.10 goals-against average this season.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette said last week he didn't think the injury was long-term.

Juuse Saros held his own during Rinne's absense. He was 3-2 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .917 save percentage while starting all five games Rinne missed.

It marked the first time in Saros' NHL career that he started back-to-back games.

His play earned the praise of teammates and coaches alike. Saros entered Wednesday tied for the league lead in victories with six.

"He’s carrying this team," Rinne said. "He’s playing great hockey. He’s been doing an amazing job. First of all, we have a good tandem and a good relationship. It starts from there.

"At the same time, I feel really good when there’s bumps and bruises, you can take your time to heal."

The Predators did not practice Wednesday before heading to Tampa for Thursday night's game (6:30 p.m., Fox TN) against the Lightning, so it is not known whether Rinne will play.

Predators general manager David Poile told 102.5-FM on Tuesday that Rinne would return "hopefully on Thursday night."

PREDATORS NEWS:What you see is what you get with Predators goalie Juuse Saros

PREDATORS SCHEDULE:Lightning, Bruins, Avs up next

PREDATORS NEWSLETTER:  Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox

Reach Paul Skrbina at and follow him on Twitter @PaulSkrbina.