Nashville Predators: Key Matchups For Epic 2nd-Round Clash vs. Winnipeg

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13: Pekka Rinne
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13: Pekka Rinne /
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(Photo by Terrence Lee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Terrence Lee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Battle of Vezina finalists

Not very often do we get to see two Vezina finalists go head-to-head in the playoffs. To make it even better, they’re both up against great offensive teams. They have their work cut out for them. As deserving as they both are for the Vezina Trophy, I expect some high-scoring affairs. I’ll be very intrigued to see how much Pekka Rinne and Connor Hellebuyck are able to neutralize the other team.

Hellebuyck’s save percentage isn’t flattering in the season series as his save percentage was below 90 percent in four of the five games. On the other hand, Rinne’s are just slightly better, but not spectacular. Rinne’s most recent outing against Winnipeg is what we’re hoping to see in the series, holding them to one goal on 34 shots. That was in mid-March in a 3-1 Predators home win. I fully expect both goaltenders to elevate their play and put up some gems.

Whichever goaltender is able to avoid giving up goals in waves is the key to who wins this series. Rinne got chased out of Game 3 against Colorado due to this. He can’t let that happen against a much better Winnipeg team. If Rinne contains Winnipeg to two or three goals per game, the Predators will be in great shape to advance. That’s easier said than done. I give the slight edge to Rinne due to playoff experience.