The first two games of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final have been a little wacky, to say the least. The team that, most agree, been the better team are down 2-0 in the Final, while also facing a goalie dilemma.
Pekka Rinne's numbers in the Final have not been pretty. His save percentage is an ugly .778 and his goals against is 4.00, a far cry from the numbers (.941 save percentage & 1.70 G.A.A.) he carried into the Final as the playoffs top goalie. Perhaps it shouldn't be all that surprising, as Rinne has never beaten the Pittsburgh Penguins as a starter (1-7-2), with his only win coming in relief.
What's more discouraging than Rinne's numbers has been how the Penguins have amassed those eight goals on him. They've come in a short, soul crushing few minutes, in both games. Three goals in the final five minutes in the first period gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead that they would eventually blow, only to have their very first shot in 37 minutes beat Rinne for the game winner. In game two, with the game tied at 1-1, Pittsburgh scored just ten seconds in. Three and a half minutes later, the game was over as the Penguins added two more goals and chased Rinne.
That has lead to the speculation over the next two days as to who will start in net for the Nashville Predators. Could head coach, Peter Laviolette, hand the reins over to backup Juuse Saros for his first career playoff start in what may be the most important game in franchise history?
It would take a giant set of you know what and a complete total lack of faith in Rinne
to make the switch to Saros. I don't believe Laviolette or any of the other players have lost faith in Rinne. After all, a big reason as to why they are in the Final in the first place is because of the Finnish goaltender.
And, let's be honest. Saros is not Pittsburgh Penguins goalie, Matt Murray. He didn't lead the Predators to the Stanley Cup like Murray did a year ago with the Penguins and who would have started from the very first day off the playoffs if he had not injured himself in the warm ups before the first game.
At this point, the only choice is still Rinne.