Barry Trotz does not even need to be asked.

The Nashville Predators coach seizes any opportunity he can these days to campaign for Pekka Rinne as a candidate for some of the National Hockey League's top individual honors, in particular those for the league's top goalie and most valuable player.

"I think he's a Vezina and a Hart [Trophy] candidate," Trotz said recently.

Similarly, there is virtually no question who will be Trotz's starting goalie over the remaining three weeks of the season.

"I just told [Rinne], 'You're going to be in every game unless I say you're not," he said.

Rinne actually rested when the Predators and Buffalo Sabres met Sunday afternoon in Buffalo. Both teams played the previous night, and Rinne faced 40 shots in the Predators' victory over Detroit.

It paid off — at least in the short term. Anders Lindback gave up three second-period goals, two of them 42 seconds apart, but the Predators rallied in dramatic fashion for a 4-3 overtime victory in a matchup of the eighth-place teams in the Western and Eastern conferences.

Blake Geoffrion registered the 20th hat trick in franchise history when he scored his second and third 64 seconds apart and tied it with 1:23 remaining in regulation. Martin Erat then got the game-winner 27 seconds into the extra period.

The Predators entered the contest tied with Vancouver for the league lead in goals-against per game at 2.29. With the three goals allowed, Nashville fell to second with a 2.30 average.