Blame Rinne for Preds Being Out of the Playoffs
By Patrick Hoffman
Going into this year's postseason, the Nashville Predators were one of the favorites to win the Cup.
What was not to like? They had an offense that could put the puck in the net, a defense that was solid on both sides of the puck, and a starting goaltender who is a Vezina Trophy finalist this season.
With the Preds out of this season's playoffs after being defeated in seven games by the Winnipeg Jets, it can be said that it was their poor goaltending that led to their ouster in the second round of the postseason. Predators starting masked man Pekka Rinne was not good enough when his team needed it the most.
Yes, the club's defense was certainly shaky and the team's offense went quiet at the wrong time, but it is time to admit that Rinne is the reason why this team is out of the playoffs. For starters, he was awful in Game 7.
Game 7 is a time in sports when teams need their best player to step up and take care of business. Rinne, 35, did not do that for his hockey club.
In just over ten minutes of play, he allowed two goals on seven shots and ended up being yanked in favor of back-up Juuse Saros by head coach Peter Laviolette. Rinne deserved to be pulled because both goals were not only stoppable, but they also took the air right out of the building.
This was not the first poor performance by Rinne in this series. He was also terrible in Game 5 when he allowed 6 goals on 26 shots. Yes, every goal was not his fault, but there were certainly goals that he should have stopped.
Rinne also struggled in Game 3 against the Colorado Avalanche in the opening round. He allowed four goals on just 15 shots as his team went on to lose the game.
His numbers as a whole were terrible this postseason. He was just 7-6 with a 3.07 goals against average and a .904 save percentage, numbers that won't help any team win hockey's Holy Grail.
Rinne should not only be blamed for his team getting knocked out of the playoffs this year, but he should also be blamed for losing them the Cup last season against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was terrible in Games 1, 2, and 5 and the Preds ended up losing the series in six games.
While last year's team surprised almost everyone by their success in the playoffs last year, they've done the opposite this year and were extremely disappointing. Rinne is the one to blame.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.