The Nashville Predators suffered a 2-1 shootout loss on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild in what was one of the most anticipated regular season games in franchise history. Former Predator Ryan Suter came back to Nashville for the first time as a member of the Wild and had an assist in his team’s victory.
Saturday night marked Nashville’s fifth shootout loss of the season. The Predators have posted a 2-5 record in shootouts so far this season, and goaltender Pekka Rinne has given up 12 goals on 27 attempts by the respective shooters in the shootout so far this season. Shooters are scoring 44.4 percent of the time against Rinne in the shootout, and it’s something that he takes personally.
“If you want to get a win against us, just take it to the shootout. I can’t stop the puck in shootouts,” Rinne said.
Rinne isn’t getting much help in the shootouts, as the Predators have only scored on eight of 27 attempts (29.6%) of their attempts, but he’s still going to have to be better in the shootouts. Rinne was very critical of himself after Saturday night’s game and was visibly upset with his performance in the shootout so far this season.
“It’s a big part of the game nowadays. A lot of the games go to a shootout,” Rinne said. “It’s a really big point anytime it goes there. I’ve been terrible in the shootout. It’s embarrassing.”
The pain of losing in the shootout is somewhat lessened because of the point that is received, but at the same time a point is also given away. Those lost points could prove to be extremely important for the Predators at the end of the season. Nashville is going to need an overall better effort in the shootout. The shooters aren’t scoring at a high percentage, and Rinne hasn’t been sharp either. It’s something that the Predators are going to have to work on because of the amount of close game that are played in today’s NHL.
Patric Hornqvist left Friday night’s game in the second period with an upper-body injury. On Saturday night, Colin Wilson left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury of his own. All of the sudden, two of Nashville’s top scorers were out of the lineup on Saturday night, which tested their depth and will continue to do so moving forward.
“Right now you could say we’re fortunate to have (Bobby) Butler and Zach (Boychuk) in our lineup because guys went down. Hopefully nothing serious. Hopefully nothing long-term. They’re really important players in our lineup, so hopefully nothing too serious,” Rinne said.
“We found a way to try to win without a couple of our scorers. We found a way to get a point. If we could have won the shootout, we could have had two,” said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz.
Nashville will be back in action on Tuesday night in Dallas to take on the Stars. The Predators will hope to get a regulation victory for just the sixth time this season on Tuesday night.