It took him 650 games, but Pekka Rinne can finally call himself a goal scorer.
Of course, Rinne is the longtime starting goaltender for the Nashville Predators, so his primary responsibility is to stop pucks from entering the net; however, the 14-year veteran took full advantage of an opportunity on Thursday to add his name to a short list of netminders who have registered a goal in an NHL game.
With the Predators leading the Blackhawks by two goals late in the third period in Chicago, Rinne collected a loose puck behind his net after the home team had dumped it into the Nashville zone. With no pressure from opposing skaters and 200 feet of ice in front of him, Rinne launched the puck over the heads of every other player and toward the open net at the other end of the arena.
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Rinne’s lob didn’t make contact with the ice until it was inside the Blackhawks’ blue line, and from that point it was only a matter of whether his effort would be accurate enough.
The empty-netter was the first tally by a goalie in NHL play since 2013, with Rinne becoming the 12th goaltender in league history to score. At 37, he’s also the second-oldest to do it, trailing only two-time goal scorer Martin Brodeur (who scored his second at nearly 41 years old).