Please, for the love of the hockey gods, please stop asking for back-up Juuse Saros to start Game 4.
Despite being one of the best goaltenders of the past decade, being the longest-tenured Nashville Predators player and being a four-time Vezina Trophy finalist, there are surprising number of Preds fans saying that Pekka Rinne should spend some time on the bench due to the 7-4 Game 3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
Has Rinne been spectacular in these 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Not as much as he was in the regular season, no. But has he played well enough for his team to win? Absolutely.
Let’s take a minute and look at every Jets goal (sans empty netters, of course) from Tuesday and then see whether or not those calls for Saros to start on Thursday are warranted.
Goal 1 || score before goal: 3-0, Nashville
Jacob Trouba takes a shot from the blueline because Paul Stastny and Mike Fisher are in front. The puck ends up going in off of Stastny’s leg. Rinne can’t see the initial shot AND it’s deflected.
Dustin Byfuglien shoots from the blueline because Tyler Myers is creating a moving screen in front of the Preds crease. When the shot is taken, Kyle Turris, trying to stay with Myers, is blocking Rinne’s vision.
All five Preds skaters are on one side of the ice leaving Byfuglien all alone in the far faceoff circle. Patrik Laine hits him with a great pass and he one-times it into the back of the net. Again, barring a ludicrous save, Rinne has no chance. And, truth be told, Byfuglien should’ve been a stride or two closer to the slot. He had that much open space available to him.
Finally, we have the eventual game-winner which was just a tremendous shot by Blake Wheeler. Keep in mind at this angle he’s a right-handed shot. Yes, Rinne should’ve gotten a whistle for the strap coming loose on his mask moments before but sometimes you’ve gotta tip your cap to the shooter.