Pekka Rinne has had a rough go of things over the past two games. Perhaps a meeting with the Edmonton Oilers can get the Nashville Predators' netminder back in form.
Rinne looks to lead the Preds to just their third victory in nine games on Sunday night in a road matchup with the Oilers.
The 30-year-old Rinne leads the NHL with five shutouts and is 10-8-5 in 26 games this season with a solid 2.20 goals against average and .916 save percentage. Two of his shutouts have come in his past five appearances, including a 6-0 win over visiting Edmonton on March 8, but he has also been pulled early in four of his last eight games.
Rinne hasn't finished Nashville's past two games, getting lifted in the second period of Thursday's 7-4 loss to Vancouver after yielding four goals on 12 shots faced. He did not fare any better the following night in Calgary, giving up a goal on both shots he faced while getting taken out after eight minutes of work.
"I pulled Pekka right off the bat," Nashville coach Barry Trotz told NHL.com. "It wasn't his fault. It was just they recovered the breakdowns. We're in the situation where guys are standing alone in front of our net. I'm not going to ask our goaltenders to make those kind of saves."
Chris Mason stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced in relief.
David Legwand, Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque scored for the Predators, who have dropped six of their last eight games, including the last two after beginning a five-game road trip with a win in Dallas on Tuesday.
Rinne is 8-4-1 with a 2.88 GAA in 16 career games (15 starts) versus the Oilers and shut them out for the first time with 24 saves last Friday. Colin Wilson had two goals and a pair of assists in the win, but Nashville's leading scorer is currently on injured reserve due to an upper body ailment.
Devan Dubnyk was pulled last Friday after allowing two goals on 13 shots in the first period for the Oilers, who have lost nine of their past 12 at home to the Predators.
That setback in Nashville was part of Edmonton's franchise-record nine-game road trip that produced a 3-4-2 mark. The Oilers wrapped the swing with two straight wins after losing to the Predators, but their first home game since Feb. 23 on Friday resulted in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner scored the game's first two goals before the Red Wings mounted a comeback. They also got some luck in tying the game after Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry put a clearing attempt into his own net with 5:53 left in regulation while shorthanded.
"It was coming back from the net and my first reaction was to put my stick on the ice", said Petry. "As I was putting it down it had forward momentum and that was that."
Hall also had an assist and Dubnyk gave up three goals on 28 shots faced.
Edmonton will play the second of four straight at home on Sunday night.