Rinnes streak of 89 straight postseason starts for Predators ends

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Pekka Rinne‘s streak of 89 consecutive postseason starts ended Sunday when Juuse Saros started for the Nashville Predators against the Arizona Coyotes in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Rogers Place.

Rinne’s streak, which began in 2010, is the fourth-longest by a goalie in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur (194 with New Jersey Devils from 1994 to 2012), Patrick Roy (133 with the Colorado Avalanche from 1996 to 2003) and Henrik Lundqvist (128 with the New York Rangers since 2006).

Rinne (13 saves) and Saros (12) combined to shut out the Dallas Stars 2-0 in an exhibition game July 30 in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city. Rinne was 18-14-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .895 save percentage in 36 games (35 starts), the worst statistics in his 12 full NHL seasons. 

Saros was 17-12-4 with a 2.70 GAA and .914 save percentage in 40 games (34 starts). He has appeared in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games during the past three seasons, all in relief of Rinne.

“I feel very confident in both goalies,” Nashville coach John Hynes said Saturday. “As we’ve said, in training camp, they were both very competitive and both played well and it’s a unique situation. I feel that the way that they are together, the way the compete and support each other, it’s helpful.”

The winner of the best-of-5 series between the No. 6 seed Predators and No. 11 seed Coyotes will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The loser will have a chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held Aug. 10.

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