Mike Fisher still rates as the favorite NHL player among his family and friends in his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario.

His lead over second place has shrunk decidedly in recent weeks, though.

Goalie Pekka Rinne, the player teammates and coaches point to as the single biggest reason for the Nashville Predators' presence in, and success during, the playoffs, became the transcendent figure of the team's most successful postseason to date.

"Anyone I talk to back home, they all talk about Pekka," Fisher said. "People love the way he competes and some of the saves he makes. He's an exciting guy to watch, which is why so many of the fans in Nashville love him."

Predators fans have been well aware of Rinne's competitiveness and dynamic athleticism for years. Almost from the moment he was recalled from Milwaukee for the first time and won in his first career start back in December 2005, his presence has exceeded even his 6-foot-5 frame.

With his performance this postseason, particularly in the conference semifinal series, which included three games in Vancouver against the only Canadian team among the then-eight remaining playoff franchises, his recognition among fans and media throughout the NHL increased exponentially.

Even before he made the last of his 29 saves in the series opener — a 1-0 Canucks victory — a Twitter hash-tag had been created called #thingsinrinnesglove, which was inspired by the array of glove saves and the fact that very few of them resulted in rebounds. Among the responses were 'sedin twins' dreams,' 'The 2011 Conn Smythe Award,' '(Vancouver general manager) Bob Murray's sanity' and a variety of others that involved commentary on politics and entertainment.