(Sports Network) - Pekka Rinne has had a rough go of things over the past two
games. Perhaps a meeting with the Edmonton Oilers can get the Nashville
Predators' netminder back in form.
Rinne looks to lead the Preds to just their third victory in nine games on
Sunday night in a road matchup with the Oilers.
The 30-year-old Rinne leads the NHL with five shutouts and is 10-8-5 in 26
games this season with a solid 2.20 goals against average and .916 save
percentage. Two of his shutouts have come in his past five appearances,
including a 6-0 win over visiting Edmonton on March 8, but he has also been
pulled early in four of his last eight games.
Rinne hasn't finished Nashville's past two games, getting lifted in the second
period of Thursday's 7-4 loss to Vancouver after yielding four goals on 12
shots faced. He did not fare any better the following night in Calgary, giving
up a goal on both shots he faced while getting taken out after eight minutes
"I pulled Pekka right off the bat," Nashville coach Barry Trotz told NHL.com.
"It wasn't his fault. It was just they recovered the breakdowns. We're in the
situation where guys are standing alone in front of our net. I'm not going to
ask our goaltenders to make those kind of saves."
Chris Mason stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced in relief.
David Legwand, Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque scored for the Predators, who
have dropped six of their last eight games, including the last two after
beginning a five-game road trip with a win in Dallas on Tuesday.
Rinne is 8-4-1 with a 2.88 GAA in 16 career games (15 starts) versus the
Oilers and shut them out for the first time with 24 saves last Friday. Colin
Wilson had two goals and a pair of assists in the win, but Nashville's leading
scorer is currently on injured reserve due to an upper body ailment.
Devan Dubnyk was pulled last Friday after allowing two goals on 13 shots in
the first period for the Oilers, who have lost nine of their past 12 at home
to the Predators.
That setback in Nashville was part of Edmonton's franchise-record nine-game
road trip that produced a 3-4-2 mark. The Oilers wrapped the swing with two
straight wins after losing to the Predators, but their first home game since
Feb. 23 on Friday resulted in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner scored the game's first two goals before the Red
Wings mounted a comeback. They also got some luck in tying the game after
Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry put a clearing attempt into his own net with
5:53 left in regulation while shorthanded.
"It was coming back from the net and my first reaction was to put my stick on
the ice", said Petry. "As I was putting it down it had forward momentum and
that was that."
Hall also had an assist and Dubnyk gave up three goals on 28 shots faced.
Edmonton will play the second of four straight at home on Sunday night.
The Sports Network