Study habits make Rinne big-time shootout stopper

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is a big fan of the shootout.

Actually, there’s a perfectly good explanation why one of the more tense moments for any goaltender happens to put Rinne in a comfort zone.

“First off, he’s tremendously skilled and a lot of it has to do with athleticism and quickness,” Predators goalie coach Mitch Korn told “But most importantly, Pekka has become very fake-resistant.”

Korn, who studies video on player tendencies with Rinne and backup Anders Lindback prior to each game, went on to explain his assessment.

“You know how certain flu and diseases become drug-resistant? Well, if you watch a lot of goalies, they have become very fake-resistant … they don’t bite like they used to,” Korn said. “Yet, the players are becoming even more creative, so it’s a battle out there.”

Despite it being a battle, Rinne loves it because it’s an opportunity for him to become a difference-maker.

“I’m not at all nervous,” Rinne said. “I think you want to be the difference-maker and that’s kind of what shootouts are all about. It’s goalie against player, so you can have a big impact on shootouts and that’s why I enjoy it. It’s no pressure for me, I welcome the challenge.”

Since the implementation of the tiebreaker in 2005-06, Rinne has produced a 17-8 record, and his .788 save percentage is fourth all-time. Proper planning and video review have been big reasons for his success.

“I try to kind of look for tendencies, but guys are so skilled that you can’t cheat, they’ll read that and find the open net,” he said. “It’s just trying to find what kind of speed they come at you, if they’re coming fast, slow, or do they have a tendency to shoot the puck or deke. I try not to over-think those things. I think you’re at your best when you just read and react and trust your instincts.”

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