NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is expected to start Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins in his return from a hip injury that has limited him to only nine games this season.
The Predators announced Monday that Rinne would start the Penguins game. Rinne, who hasn't played in an NHL game since Oct. 22, completed a two-game conditioning stint with the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday.
Rinne, a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist, has been recovering from an E. coli infection in his surgically repaired left hip.
The 31-year-old Rinne is returning as the Predators make a late-season bid for one of the Western Conference's eight playoff spots. The Predators are 12th in the Western Conference standings with 62 points. Dallas, Winnipeg and Vancouver are tied for eighth with 66 points.