Pekka Rinne is one of the NHL’s best goalies when it comes to shootouts.
However, faced with a similar set of circumstances in the middle of a game — the first penalty shot of his career — the Nashville Predators goalie failed to make the save. Jerome Iginla’s successful conversion in the opening minute of the second period tied the game and started the Predators on their way to a 3-2 loss to the Flames on Sunday in a critical matchup at Calgary.
Nashville started the day in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, but with a victory it would have passed the Flames, who started in seventh. Instead, the Predators fell to 11th after Minnesota earned a point for an overtime loss to Buffalo.
Calgary swept the season series for the second time in three seasons.
Martin Erat had a goal and an assist, and David Legwand had two assists as Nashville went ahead twice in the first period. Erat started the scoring 2:47 into the contest, and Ryan Suter’s third goal of the season made it 2-1 with 4:02 remaining in the first.
It was just 59 seconds into the second period, though, that Sergei Kostitsyn was called for hooking Iginla on a breakaway and Calgary was awarded a penalty shot. It was the first penalty shot against the Predators in more than three years and the first successful since Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula converted against Dan Ellis on Dec. 10, 2007.
The successful attempt evened the score but shifted the momentum firmly behind Calgary. From that point on, the Predators allowed twice as many shots (26) as they took (13), which was in stark contrast to the opening 20 minutes, when each side had nine.
Rinne is tied for second in the league with six shootout victories this season and has faced more shooters (34) than any other goalie in the league. His .794 save percentage is sixth best among the top 20 in attempts.
That success did not translate to the penalty shot.