(The Sports Xchange) - Despite rocky performances in his last two starts, Pekka Rinne will be in goal Saturday night when the Nashville Predators host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final.
Although Nashville coach Peter Laviolette did not make an official announcement on his starting goaltender, the Tennessean reported that Rinne was in net at Saturday’s morning skate, typical a predicator of who will man the net that night.
The 34-year-old Rinne has been dented for four goals in each of the first two games, twice getting burned for three goals in a span of under 4 1/2 minutes to allow Pittsburgh to seize a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“It’s not his fault by any means,” Predators captain Mike Fisher said of Rinne. “We need to be better in front of him.”
Rinne had stamped himself as one of the front-runners for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs by going 12-4-0 as eighth-seeded Nashville swept through the Western Conference.
The Finnish veteran was yanked in favor of Juuse Saros after giving up three goals in a span of 3:18 in the third period of a 4-1 setback to the Penguins in Game Two.
That loss dropped Rinne to 1-7-2 lifetime against Pittsburgh, prompting speculation that Laviolette might turn to Saros.
Nashville will make at least one change with PA Parenteau scheduled to start on a line with Frederick Gaudreau and forward Harry Zolnierczyk.
“Hopefully I can bring a little offense tonight and help the team generate a little more,” said Parenteau, who will be appearing in his fourth game this postseason.
Editing by Gene Cherry