Pekka Rinne has spent his entire NHL career with the Nashville Predators. He has been as good of a franchise goaltender as the Predators could have ever asked for when they drafted him back in 2004. Rinne, without a doubt, has been one of the top goalies in the NHL for the past decade. He has led Nashville to a number of winning seasons and deep playoff runs.
Rinne This Season
This season, however, we have seen a very different story unfold. The Predators have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments, and Rinne is enduring the worst season of his NHL career. Since taking over the starting job in 2008-09, he has never finished a season with a save percentage under .900 or goals-against average above 3.00. Currently, he is on pace to do both of those things this season. As of writing, his save percentage sits at .898 and goals-against average at 3.01.
The Predators have not been able to make up for Rinne’s drop in play. They currently sit outside of a playoff spot by three points. This is a team that was widely expected to be one of the top teams in the league this year. Now, there is certainly plenty of blame to go around. The Predators’ team defense has definitely dropped off. Rinne’s drop in play hasn’t helped either. If the Predators want to make a late-season run at a playoff spot, they need Pekka Rinne to return to his usual form.
Playoffs or No?
The Nashville Predators’ 2020 playoff chances rest heavily on the shoulders of Pekka Rinne. If he continues to struggle the way he has for most of this season, the Predators will likely miss the playoffs. If he can improve his play in the final two months of the season and return to the Pekka Rinne of old, the Predators are well within striking distance of a wild card spot in the Western Conference. Does the 37-year-old netminder have one more run in him? Can he step up and lead this team to the playoffs one more time? Or is this the beginning of the end for the Predator’s legend? Those questions will all be answered over the next couple of months. One thing is certain, however. If the Nashville Predators are going to make the playoffs this season, Pekka Rinne must step up and lead the way.
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