Warning: this might be still be hard for Nashville Predators fans to read this. Last night, in a do or die Game 7 against the Winnipeg Jets, Predators starting goalie Pekka Rinne was pulled less than 11 minutes into the opening period after giving up two soft goals on seven shots.
The first goal from the Winnipeg Jets was of the unforgivable variety, it looked like Tyler Myers had absolutely no chance of scoring as he was standing at a rather impossible angle, but Rinne failed to properly close the gap between himself and the goal post and somehow the puck found it's way into the back of the net. It was such a bad goal that for a few seconds after the puck went into the net you could tell that no one on the ice had really realized what had just happened. Unfortunately for Rinne that was just the start of his problems.
Just a few short shifts later the Jets doubled their lead, again to be fair to Rinne it was clear that the Jets were outworking the Predators in every aspect of the game at this point. However in a Game 7 situation you need your goalie to come up big for you...
“It’s a terrible feeling.”
“It’s the most important game of the season and I let the whole team down,” a dejected Rinne said of his performance after the Preds' elimination. “You let your teammates down and it’s tough to swallow. … Two terrible goals at the wrong time. It’s hard.”
Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos was highly critical of Rinne's play during a segment on the Canadian broadcast this evening and he stated flatly that he believes Rinne may be done in Nashville. As we all know now they did in fact fail to make it back into the game.
"I am just shocked at Pekka's play in that first period. They better come back and find a way to win or I think this will be it for Pekka there in Nashville, I don't think he can rebound off of this."
However, teammate P.K. Subban was quick to defend his goalie after the game and did not hold back to criticize people who were hard on Rinne, calling the veteran netminder “the backbone of our team” and saying anyone criticizing him doesn’t know what they’re talking about: