Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne‘s up-and-down Stanley Cup Final took another turn for the worse in Thursday night’s Game 5 when he allowed three goals on nine shots in the opening period and was benched before the start of the second.
Rinne was replaced by Juuse Saros, who allowed three goals on 10 shots in the second period as the Penguins won 6-0.
“Obviously not the start you want to have,” Rinne said. “It seemed hard for us to get anything going. Right now we’ve just got to focus on Game 6 at home and put all our energy in that one.”
Pittsburgh’s first two goals came 5:12 apart early in Game 5, on the power play from Justin Schultz and at even strength from Bryan Rust. Evgeni Malkin put the Penguins up 3-0 with 10.2 seconds to go in the first.
“We’ve got to be better in front of him. … I don’t think that necessarily they were bad goals,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “Our guys have a tremendous amount of confidence in him. We just have to do a better job in front of him.”
Considered one of the favorites to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, Rinne’s status as Nashville’s starter was in question after he allowed eight goals on 36 shots in the Predators’ losses in Games 1 and 2.
He appeared to rediscover his form in Games 3 and 4, allowing one goal in each game and totaling 50 saves to help Nashville even the series at 2-2.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.