Pekka Rinne wasn’t the problem
Some of the very outspoken critics can’t use Rinne as the scapegoat this time around. Rinne most likely kept this from being over in five games, or even a sweep. He played incredible for most of the series despite very little defense played in front of him. He was called on time and time again to bail out his teammates and stop onslaught after onslaught from the Stars. He gave the Predators a chance to steal Game 6 and push it to a Game 7. If that happens, and it could’ve easily ended that way, then the conversation is much different right now.
If you just look at Rinne’s basic numbers in the series, you may rush to the conclusion that he had a terrible series. After all, a save percentage barely over 90 and giving up more than three goals per game isn’t good. However, I can argue that the Stars should’ve lit the Predators up for five or six goals per game with all of the pressure and scoring chances they piled up over the series. Rinne kept this from being a blood bath.
Both Dallas and Nashville accounted for the same amount of high danger chances in the series at 82. Dallas capitalized on just eight of those chances, per Natural Stat Trick. Those totals are much higher than every other playoff team outside of San Jose and Vegas. His high-danger save percentage of 86 is also higher than many of the other playoff goaltenders. So Rinne did a masterful job at keeping Dallas from really running the score up in a few of the games.
Rinne certainly wasn’t the problem in this series. It will be an interesting offseason to see how the dynamic unfolds with Juuse Saros waiting in the wings to take over. Saros did play well in relief of Rinne in the Game 4 blowout.