Though the Nashville Predators broke their six game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. Even despite a 24 save effort from Juuse Saros and Filip Forsberg’s 10th goal of the year, there’s a long way to go before fans can feel good about this team again.
The Preds record in their last 10 games is still abysmal (2-6-2) and the team still has plenty of tough opponents on the horizon, including those same St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
There’s still not a lot going right with the Preds and it starts with what is usually a mainstay in Nashville: their goaltending.
We are 21 games into the season and both goaltenders still have save percentages below .900 (a common benchmark for replacement level goaltending in the NHL). While they have had some decent games along the way, neither goaltender has put up back-to-back quality performances in a month.
In particular, I think critical eyes really need to start turning towards Pekka Rinne.
Is it time to start talking about Pekka Rinne? Since the infamous “easiest shutout” game against Chicago:
1-4-1 record in 6 games
.806 sv% all situations (64th of 65 goalies)
.859 sv% at 5on5 (61 of 65)
-5.89 goals saved above avg (64 of 65)#Preds
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) November 22, 2019
Rinne’s numbers over the last month are bad. Really bad.
He’s been one of the worst goalies in the NHL since the calendar switched to November, and it all seemed to start with the overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Halloween.
You might remember this game as the one where the Preds lost a three goal lead in the 3rd period. You might remember it from the unbelievable overtime goal by Matthew Tkachuk. Or you might remember it because two days prior, Pekka Rinne shut out the Chicago Blackhawks, calling it the “easiest shutout” of his career.
Either way, it was the beginning of a truly awful stretch for Rinne.
Rinne out, Saros in?
On the other hand, in that same stretch, Juuse Saros has been considerably better. Though his numbers still aren’t what we are used to, his .907 save percentage in seven games since October 31st is nearly 100 save percentage points higher than Rinne in that stretch. Saros still only has one win to show for it (Saturday’s win over the Blues), but he has been better.
This has to make us start thinking about the Preds goaltending situation in more concrete terms. If Juuse Saros continues to put up quality starts, and if the Preds win games with him in net, might there be a more permanent change in the starting role?
This is a question that has been brewing for the Nashville Predators for several years now, but up until this particular stretch of games has never really felt like a realistic mental exercise. But if you ask me, it’s time to start considering the possibility that Pekka Rinne slowly trends towards the backup role and Juuse Saros emerges as the go-to starter.
GIF Me That Good Stuff
Not a GIF, but I have to share it anyway. This is the video I posted of Robert Bortuzzo attacking Viktor Arvidsson (more on this below) and I did… not… expect… this…
The 2nd hit is unbelievably dangerous from Bortuzzo. Virtually no protection on the lower body there (kidneys, spine, etc.$ and he came down very, very hard. pic.twitter.com/4SWsPVEJIc
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) November 24, 2019
Preds Quote of the Week
“I’m just trying to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities I get and go from there.” – Kyle Turris, when asked by Robby Stanley if he feels like he’s getting the chance to succeed
Let’s Do That Hockey
Plenty of Nashville Predators hockey for your long holiday weekend!
- Monday November 25th vs St. Louis Blues (7:00 PM; FS-TN)
- Wednesday November 27th vs Vegas Golden Knights (7:00 PM; FS-TN)
- Friday November 29th @ Carolina Hurricanes (6:30 PM; FS-TN)
- Saturday, November 30th @ Florida Panthers (6:00 PM; FS-TN)
You didn’t think we wouldn’t talk about the Robert Bortuzzo hit on Viktor Arvidsson did you?
If you are tired of it by now, I could understand that, but in reality it’s one of the worst hits on a Predators player I can remember. And now that we know Arvidsson will be out for 4-6 weeks with a lower body injury because of it, we can at least feel good knowing that Bortuzzo will be out for… wait, only 4 games?
But if you want more discussion on this, as well as plenty more on the Preds’ goaltending and the Kyle Turris situation, check out Episode 3 of the Preds NashCast here:
Link and I covered a ton this week, including the Arvidsson injury, the likelihood that this Nashville Predators’ slump will continue, and just what Peter Laviolette might be thinking in scratching Kyle Turris (hint: not anything good).
Please do listen to that episode of the podcast, it was our best one yet. But until you do, here’s my short take on the Bortuzzo-Arvidsson incident.
It was an atrocity. It’s one of the worst non-head injury related incidents I’ve ever seen in hockey. The audacity and cowardice of Bortuzzo to come down that hard on Arvidsson in a very vulnerable part of the body is astounding. Honestly, he could have damaged some very important internal organs by doing that.
I am not surprised that he only got four games. In fact, I thought it would be less than that, so I guess I was pleasantly surprised. The NHL just does not take player safety as seriously as it thinks it does. Though they have started taking head shots more seriously, they are a long way from protecting their most important assets from serious harm.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —