Goalie controversy talk in Nashville is ‘just crazy,’ says Laviolette

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Earlier this week, the Predators made the interesting decision to start Carter Hutton over Pekka Rinne for a key Central Division clash with Dallas.

The decision was made with Hutton streaking — 0.33 GAA and .987 save percentage over his previous three starts — and Rinne slumping, having allowed 17 goals on his last 122 shots faced (an .861 save percentage).

Which got people to asking — was there a goalie controversy brewing?

On Thursday, the Tennessean put it to head coach Peter Laviolette:

Asked if goaltender Carter Hutton‘s recent play may have made his decision to return to Rinne any harder, Laviolette bluntly downplayed any sort of goaltending controversy.

“You guys are making more of it than there is there,” he said. “I’ve heard the things that were said yesterday. It’s just crazy. There’s a good friendship in there. We’re a good team. Guys pull for each other.

“There’s no divisions, no splits. And you guys make more of it than is really there.”

It is hard to deny, however, that Rinne has struggled this year. His .902 save percentage is way down from the .923 he posted a season ago, and it’s worth noting Hutton played pretty well in an eventual 3-2 OT loss to the Stars on Monday, stopping 29 of 32 shots.

Rinne will get the start on Thursday, when the Preds host the Bruins at Bridgestone.