NHLN Playoff Notebook: Down Goes the Rinne Wall

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 2:30 am by Scott Maxwell

After the hockey gods cruelly punished us with a terrible game seven yesterday, it seemed almost certain today that they would return the favour, and reward us with a much better game in a duel between the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks. However, the gods decided to spit in our face, as the Nashville Predators decided to not show up to their game seven in a 5-0 loss.


Yes, you read that correctly. For the second day in a row, a team fell flat on it’s face when it was facing elimination. Today’s victim is the Predators, or more specifically, Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber, and Roman Josi, who all got lit up like a Christmas tree.

It was obvious which vicious creature that these teams represent was hungrier off the bat, as the San Jose Sharks were providing extreme pressure on the Predators. It wasn’t long until they got on the board, as Joe Pavelski opened the scoring on the power play midway through the first. Despite the poor showing in the first, Nashville was hoping that they could get out of the period with only a 1-0 deficit, but even that was too much to ask for, as with just 3:09 left, Joel Ward scored on a partial breakaway goal to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead (against his former team).

However, it’s not like 2-0 is a huge deficit. After all, look no further back than game six, when they Preds were down 2-0 only to come back and win 4-3 in OT. Maybe they could use some of that magic. Wait, what’s that? Oh, Logan Couture scored just 36 seconds into the period to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead. The remainder of the period was a bit of a drag, as just nine more shots were recorded on net in the period.

Then, any momentum the Predators had gained after attempting to get on the board was lost 32 seconds into the third period, when Joe Thornton scored on a 4-on-1 to give the Sharks a 4-0 lead, and basically put the nail in the coffin. A few minutes later, Patrick Marleau added to the total with a goal on a 2-on-1 to make it 5-0, and that would be all from either team’s offenses for the rest of the game, as Martin Jones and Carter Hutton (who replaced Rinne after the fifth goal) shut the door, and the Sharks would win game seven to move on to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.

Back by popular demand, another round of “What the F#%@ is this Player Doing?” Today’s guest: Shea Weber!



So, much like the Dallas Stars, the Nashville Predators had a very poor showing. But, unlike the Stars, that also showed on the shot totals for the Preds as well. While they finished with 20 shots, it took almost 50 minutes for Nashville to hit 10. The Predators finished with a 55.45% 5v5 CF, although it drops to 52.29% when it’s score adjusted. Mattias Ekholm and Viktor Arvidsson were the best possession players tonight, both boasting a +14, while Joel Ward, Chris Tierney, and Melker Karlsson were all a game worst -10.

To really establish the difference in Nashville’s play in both before and after the fifth goal, the Preds were a -1 CF in the 43:54 that Pekka Rinne was in net for. In the remaining 16:06 with Carter Hutton in net, they were a +12. Another crazy stat: James Neal had 12 shot attempts in the game, the most by any player by a significant stretch. Only three of them actually got to the net, which might show the bad luck that the Preds had with their shot accuracy. Also, with a goal and two assists, Logan Couture set a new franchise record for points in a series with 11.

All in all, it was a tough night for the Predators. Shea Weber showed that he isn’t exactly the elite defenseman that everyone thinks he is, and Pekka Rinne payed the price. However, they did set a new franchise record for playoff wins on this run, and beat out the Anaheim Ducks to do so. It was a progressive year for them, and you can’t say that they didn’t show the league that they mean business this year. It will be interesting to see what happens to them next year.



3. Martin Jones

Jones stopped all 20 shots he faced for his first career playoff shutout, as well as getting his team to the Western Conference Finals.

2. Joe Thornton/Patrick Marleau

Because they both had a goal and an assist, and since I like both players equally, I give them both a spot in second for their performance today.

1. Logan Couture

What better way to have a three point night than to do it in game seven while setting a franchise record for points in a series?