The Morning After: Anatomy of a Shark Killer
Once again, Pekka Rinne stymied the Sharks and led the Predators to a win over San Jose.
If you asked Sharks fans to compile a list of the biggest "Shark-killers," you'd probably hear Mike Modano, Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger, Ed Belfour, and Mikka Kipprusoff mentioned.
It's time to add Pekka Rinne to that list.
While Rinne's yet to man the crease against the Sharks in the playoffs, he's completely frustrated San Jose in the regular season. While he's won just 10 of 20 career games against San Jose, the Predators have picked up points in 14 of those games thanks to four shootout and overtime losses. His individual numbers, however, are just flat out ridiculous.
Rinne holds the highest save percentage of ANY goalie (minimum 5 games played, per the Sharks' media guide) that's suited up against the Sharks, Rinne's posted a .945 SV%. He's saved less than 92% of the shots he's faced in just two games against the Sharks.
Rinne's also allowed just 36 goals, which is good for an absurd 1.80 goals against average, which sits fourth of all Sharks' opponents. The Sharks have scored only half of those goals at even strength, meaning Rinne has allowed less than one goal per game at evens against the Sharks.
But, like any great hockey villain, on-ice performance isn't enough to make Sharks fans hate Pekka Rinne. His after-the-whistle shenanigans last night should do the trick. Doing his best Corey Perry impression, Rinne slashed former KHL teammate Joe Pavelski after the Sharks' second goal last night.
Rinne doesn't have the same tumultuous history with and against the Sharks as Ed Belfour, and hasn't stolen any playoff series like Jonas Hiller. But, he's been a massive thorn in San Jose's side in the regular season, and is simply the most dominant opposing goaltender the Sharks have ever faced.
Thankfully the Sharks have just one matchup left with Nashville this season in April. But given Rinne's dominance, San Jose probably isn't counting down the days until they see Rinne again.