For Pekka Rinne, a great November, followed by a dismal December

AP

Pekka Rinne‘s save percentage has fallen to a dismal .848 for December — an especially shocking number after he was named the NHL’s first star of November.

Nashville’s starting goalie surrendered three first-period goals in last night’s 5-2 loss to Minnesota. The Preds ended up outshooting the Wild, 36-19, but couldn’t tie it late and gave up a pair of empty-net goals.

As always, the goalie wasn’t entirely to blame.

“We probably played 50 to 55 minutes that we really liked,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette told reporters afterwards. “They probably had 10 chances — they got four in the last two minutes of the first period and three in the last two minutes of the second period. Not a lot more than that, but those did us in.”

With the loss, the Preds fell to 2-4-1 in December. They had entered the month on a roll, after putting a slow start to the season behind them.

Last night’s result must have been particularly discouraging after the Preds had fought back to beat the Blues, 6-3, on Tuesday.

“Something triggered for us, and we were unstoppable,” forward Ryan Johansen said of the St. Louis game, per The Tennessean. “That’s the best I’ve seen this team play, I think, since I’ve been here. Just skating and everyone on the same page. Literally, you could go through our whole lineup, everybody was doing so many great things out there. So I think we really needed that one. We needed a character comeback win like that.”

Nashville (13-12-4) can be thankful it’s not in the Eastern Conference, because if it was, a playoff spot would be in serious jeopardy. But in the Western Conference, the Preds sit just two points back of Los Angeles for the final wild-card spot. Not a great position considering preseason expectations for this team, but plenty of time to right the ship again.

The Preds host the Rangers Saturday.

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