Though they’re currently in the playoff picture, the fact that they’re towards the bottom of it probably doesn’t bode well for the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Preds have been all sorts of bad this season, ranking near the bottom of the league in offensive output (not surprising), struggling to find any sort of consistency in multiple aspects of their game, and having a ghostly (not a typo) Shea Weber in the lineup every night.
Luckily for Nashville, they still employ Pekka Rinne as their goaltender. If it weren’t for that fact, this a team that could easily be battling with the Colorado Avalanche to keep out of the cellar in the Western Conference.
Rinne hasn’t been without his struggles this season, but that could be partially due to the fact that no goaltender has started more games this year than he has. Which is sort of understandable when you look at the roster and realize that his backup is Chris Mason.
He’s been pulled multiple times recently and hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his numbers, but the fact that he’s being peppered with shots more than almost any netminder in the league is a pretty good indicator as to why that’s happening.
Only two goaltenders, Ryan Miller and Ondrej Pavelec, have faced more shots than Pekka Rinne. Rinne’s numbers are better than either of those two and it isn’t even close. So the fact that he’s facing that many shots and still giving the Preds a chance to win every night, is pretty impressive.
If it weren’t for the play of Rinne, the Predators wouldn’t be anywhere near a position where a playoff spot was in reach. They probably still won’t make it into the top eight in order to grab a postseason berth, but they can certainly thank Rinne for the fact that they’re even in this position at this point in the season.