The Nashville Predators dropped their season opener at the Scottrade Center Thursday night to the St. Louis Blues, 4-2. Head coach Barry Trotz gave Pekka Rinne the nod to start, but before anyone knew what hit them, Nashville was down 3-0 with 10:15 remaining in the first period due to goals from David Backes, Vladimir Sobotka and T.J. Oshie. After stopping three of six shots, Rinne was pulled and backup Carter Hutton entered the game.
Rinne, who returned from hip surgery, did not play a full sixty minutes during the preseason. The longest the 6'5" netminder played was forty minutes — obviously playing forty minutes will not suffice in a real game. That can be blamed on Trotz and the coaching staff, but no matter what, Rinne did not look like himself.
It appeared Rinne lost his quickness and mobility while in the butterfly. All three goals scored by the Blues came off of the slow reaction by the Predators' goaltender. The first goal is hard to fault Rinne, but prior to his hip surgery, he would have been able to make a gumby-esque save.
Joshua Cooper of the Tennessean talked to Rinne after the game and asked about how his hip felt. He simply replied, "Good."
We'll just see how good his hip really is when he likely gets the start in Colorado Friday to avenge himself.