Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne’s Shootout Struggles This Season Are Surprising

Nashville Predators Rinne

Don McPeak – USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators have seen seven of their 25 games this season, but surprisingly have just two wins to their credit for all of those trips to the tiebreaker. Goaltender Pekka Rinne has been great in the shootout throughout his career, but has had a very rough go of it this season. The Predators find themselves 11th in the Western Conference standings at the moment, and would be fourth if they had managed to take the extra five points they left on the table in those shootout losses.

A 2-1 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday was the latest letdown for the team, as Rinne stopped Zach Parise but was beaten by Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen. The Predators lost their first three games of the season that reached the shootout before recording back-to-back shootou wins over the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, with Rinne coming up big. Since then, they have won three games in overtime, but if it gets past that point they have come up short.

While some goaltenders have poor records in shootouts because they aren’t getting scoring support at the other end, the bulk of the blame here goes to Rinne. He has had a shootout save percentage of .700 and .794 the past two seasons, but this season is stopping just over half of the attempts he faces (.556 save percentage). Rinne’s shootout numbers paint a stark contrast to his performance in regulation, where he has a 9-8-5 record with a 2.09 goals against and a .920 save percentage. While a lack of scoring may be the reason the Predators have seen so many games head to the shootout, they depend on Rinne to be the difference once they get there and he has not been up to that task this season.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.

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