Are these two slipping a bit?
We hold Pekka Rinne to such a high standard in Nashville that we are sometimes shocked when he has a bad start. The fact is that we’ve become spoiled by Rinne’s overall greatness. He’s been the primary guy in net for so long that we now expect him to deliver the ultimate prize, and nothing less. Rinne is having another outstanding year, despite some shaky defensive play in front of him. His numbers have been misleading due to a plague of team injuries that forced Rinne to stand on his head just to keep the Predators from getting blown out of the building.
Luckily the Predators are mostly back to full strength. Rinne doesn’t appear to be declining in any way due to his age. If anything, his age makes him even more valuable once the pressure builds towards the end of the season. Rinne still has respectable numbers, but his save percentage has suffered the most through the shuffling of the lineups in front of him. I fully expect to see him be another huge strength for the Predators in the postseason.
Then you have perhaps the best backup goaltender in the NHL with Juuse Saros. His numbers are similar to Rinne’s, and he’s a major luxury to have. My confidence is just as high for Saros to get the job done as it is in Rinne. Saros will most likely set a new career high in starts in a season as he’s already at 18 starts. The Predators are leaning on him more and more, and he will play a factor down the stretch as the Predators try to get another division title.