When the Nashville Predators faced off against thes Edmonton Oilers tonight, Pekka Rinne was between the pipes. Normally, this wouldn’t have been a surprise, as Rinne starts almost every game for the Predators. After being pulled in back-to-back losses, some might have though the best course of action would be to give Rinne the night off. Nashville head coach Barry Trotz deserves credit for putting his star goaltender back out there and realizing it is Rinne that gives his team the best chance to win games.
Rinne was pulled Friday after surrendering goals to the Calgary Flames on the first two shots he faced. Backup Chris Mason didn’t fare any better, allowing three more goals while only facing 19 shots. Rinne was also pulled on Thursday after the Vancouver Canucks got four goals past him on only 12 shots. Mason didn’t fare much better, allowing two more goals on nine shots (notice a trend here?).
Over the course of a season, even the best goalies in the league are going to have a bad night from time to time. In this shortened season, everything is magnified and makes this seem like a bigger problem than it actually is. The Predators’ offense is performing much better as of late, and the team sits just two points out of a playoff spot. Mason has seen limited action this season, and has at best been a serviceable backup throughout his career. Rinne is still the team’s best option to win games, and should be able to bounce back and return to form.