How to tell the difference between a Pekka Rinne-like goalie and one with a dark mask
On the field, Pekkan Rinne has the kind of uncanny ability to keep the puck in front of his net even when his defense mates are playing.
His ability to find openings for himself, and make the save, has earned him praise from some of the league’s elite.
His teammates have also given him the benefit of the doubt.
The Minnesota Wild’s Pekko Rinne is a bit of both, and he knows how to keep a team afloat.
“It’s hard to win when you’re struggling,” Rinne said.
“But that’s the nature of it.
You have to win, and it takes a lot of effort.”
Rinne was on a short-handed team in the first period of the Minnesota Wild Game 3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
He had a chance to tie the game, but a quick goal from Alex Stalock stopped the score and forced overtime.
Rinne had one assist and zero points, and was minus-2.4, tied for the team lead.
He didn’t have a point in the third period.
“We weren’t good enough offensively to get a chance at overtime,” Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said.
He said Rinne made “a lot of plays, but we didn’t make enough.”
He added: “We’re not the kind to give up the lead.
We have to get back in the game.”
The Wild went ahead 6-5 early in the fourth period, but Rinne, who was one of the few bright spots in a poor third period, stopped a shot by Los Angeles defenseman Erik Johnson.
Rinnes shot on goal in the last minute of the period.
Minnesota took a 2-1 lead into the extra period, which ended with the Kings taking a 3-2 lead.
“The first two periods were pretty good,” Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon said.
Stalocks, who had a goal and an assist in the previous two games, had two goals and an empty-netter to give the Kings a 3:00 lead.
It wasn’t enough for the Wild, who went on to win 3-1.
The Kings finished the first half tied with the Ducks, who won 4-3 on Wednesday.
The Wild are 0-3-0 when Rinne makes at least one save.
The only other goalie who has a save percentage above .947 is Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Quick has been held under .932 since March 8.
Rinns was held scoreless in the opening two games of this series.
Minnesota won 5-2 in the series opener Nov. 12, but the Wild fell to 2-2-0 against the Kings.
Rinse made 36 saves in the second period, including four stops in the final five minutes.
“Pekka’s been playing really well for us,” Spurgeon, who has played a lot with Rinne and his brother, Viktor, said.
The last time Minnesota lost by more than three goals in a game was Jan. 15, 2013.
Minnesota’s Erik Haula had one goal and one assist for three points in the loss.
Erik Hulving, who scored one goal in Game 2, had a team-high two assists.
He and Stalysh Kostka combined for one assist.
Kostma, who did not play, was 0 for 4 with two saves.
Stale Hulking had three assists for five points.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion Ducks, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, have won six of seven.
Rinners first goal came with 8:24 remaining in the period and was his second of the night.
The shot from the left circle in the left corner of the net was wide and beat goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who stopped the puck.
“He has some big-time skill and that’s something we’ve seen all season,” coach Bruce Arena said.
Pekki Rinne: Team captain; captain of the PK, defensemen, penalty kill; captain in the KHL; NHL All-Star; All-star in 2014; NHL Cup MVP; Vezina Trophy finalist.