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Rinne wins with ease in return to ice

There haven’t been many wins in Pekka Rinne’s hockey career that came as easy as Friday night’s did in Milwaukee.

Rinne and the Admirals got a dominating 9-1 victory over the Iowa Wild at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday night. Rinne stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced in his first game action of any sort since Oct. 22.

“I’ll take that,” Rinne said. “It’s a good way to come back. The guys really made it easy for me. I can’t remember when I’ve been in a game like that. It was a crazy game with a little bit of everything.”

Milwaukee dominated the game from start to finish, scoring four goals in the first period, four in the second and adding another one late in the third period. Rinne wasn’t tested too often, but responded well for the most part when he was. He surrendered one goal to Zach Miskovic of the Wild on a shot from the point through traffic.

“There are some situations still that kind of throws me off. There’s traffic and guys going back and forth. Like their goal, I lost the puck there,” Rinne said.

Although he didn’t get a whole lot of work or see lots of action, Rinne was able to at least make the 9-1 victory productive. He stopped every shot but one, made a big breakaway save on Iowa’s Warren Peters, showed good side-to-side movement when he made a save on his former teammate Jonathon Blum on the rush and, most importantly, is still symptom-free and feeling healthy.

“I’m happy that I got to at least make a few good stops,” Rinne said. “Just to play the full 60 minutes, I think that was the main goal. Just to get conditioning, even though it was quite an easy game for myself.”

The past year has been a long road for Rinne. He’s had multiple hip surgeries and had to deal with a scary infection that kept him out of the lineup much longer than he anticipated. With everything Rinne has gone through this past year, he’s developed a much deeper appreciation for being able to play the game of hockey.

“You take it for granted so many times,” Rinne said. “Sometimes you go through a stretch of games and you don’t realize that at any time something could happen. It’s good not to think about it too much. You can’t really worry about injuries or anything like that, but for sure it makes me appreciate being on the ice and being able to play. I had a blast tonight.”

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