Rinne suffers nightmare stretch, gets chased by Penguins

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After giving up a shaky 1-0 goal in Game 2, there was already some concern about Pekka Rinne‘s confidence. Now it’s looking like a legitimate crisis.

The Nashville Predators are dominating the shot count again tonight, arguably to an even more obvious extent than Game 1. It hasn’t mattered, however, as Matt Murray‘s been splendid and the Pittsburgh Penguins are converting on most of their chances.

The third period of Game 2 shines an especially glaring light on that disparity.

The bleeding began when Jake Guentzel scored his second goal of Game 2. At that point, he had generated the Penguins’ last three goals.

The narrative changed from Guentzel being on fire to Rinne being ice-cold, however, as the Penguins blitzed the Predators during a surge that felt a lot like the first period of Game 1.

Guentzel’s goal came 10 seconds into the third. Scott Wilson then made it 3-1 at the 3:13 mark of the period. Just 15 seconds later, Evgeni Malkin converted on an odd-man rush to make it 4-1, and Peter Laviolette finally saw enough, pulling Rinne in favor of promising (but inexperienced) goalie Juuse Saros.

Nashville has the skill to make a push, but at the moment, much of the questions revolve around who should play in net in Game 3.

If it’s Rinne, he’ll need to prove that he can regain the Conn Smythe form that suddenly feels quite distant.