That is, until Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in which Rinne reverted back to the form that had seen him get benched earlier this season. Predators trail the Penguins 1-0 in the series.
Predators head coach Peter Laviolette would not announce who will be in net on Saturday, but it's likely going to be Rinne.
You could also argue that without Fleury stepping into the breach and carrying the Penguins through the better part of the first three rounds, they aren't even in the Stanley Cup final. Then it's way too much.
It was either won when they scored three goals in the first 3 minutes, 28 seconds of the third period or lost by the Predators when they couldn't score in the final 39 seconds of the first.
The barrage started with rookie Jake Guentzel.
"It's insane", said Guentzel, who has an National Hockey League rookie record five game-winning goals this postseason.
Even if you subtract the own goals, the Preds' star stopper is really fighting the puck.
"We know that we have to be better, that we got outplayed in a lot of aspects of the game for stretches of time, and our expectation is higher for ourselves", Sullivan said.More news: Puerto Rico votes for statehood in nonbinding, low-turnout election
Only if Rinne turns back into Rinne.
It was Nashville's first lead of the series - no offside challenge this time - but it did not last.
Game 3 is in Nashville on Saturday. Rinne came into the series with a.941 save percentage in the playoffs, and was pulled for backup Juuse Saros.
Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.
"That's the good thing about the situation", said Penguins defenceman Trevor Daley.
The Predators rallied to tie before Guentzel's go-ahead goal with 3:17 remaining put the Penguins ahead to stay. They know how to win. Arvidsson and Fisher got the assists.
No one has finished better for the Penguins in the playoffs than Guentzel. Sidney Crosby, Penguins; 4.
Wilson was credited with his third of the playoffs just over 3 minutes later when a centering pass caromed off Nashville's Vernon Fiddler and by Rinne. Rinne entered the Cup Final 12-4 with a 1.70 goals-against average and a.941 save percentage in the postseason.More news: Leaked NSA doc highlights deep flaws in US election system
Catfish tossing has been a tradition of the Predators since 2003, and Metro Nashville police say that no one has been prosectuted since the tradition began. The chasm between him and Pekka Rinne at the other end of the ice has been the most prominent reason why the series is going the way it is. We're down 2-nothing. We're coming back in our barn, and we don't lose here.
Earlier this year, he was spotted partying with the New York Giants WR corps just before their playoff game and we all remember the result of that one.
Then, just over three minutes later, the Predators had their second own-goal in as many games, when Vernon Fiddler's skate knocked a bouncing puck through Rinne's five-hole - the goal officially goes to Scott Wilson, but equal credit should go to Phil Kessel, who earned the assist for sneaking the puck into a unsafe position. I would rather have that Game 1 win because you need four out of seven. There's a bit of a changeling quality to this group as opposed to the one that beat San Jose in six games to win the Cup last spring.
P.K. Subban picked up his first career postseason fighting major on Wednesday night after a tussle with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin in the third period.
"My first two years were kind of up and down", he said.
Pontus Aberg scored for Nashville, which has 18 shots, and Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh, which has 12.
The goals did come off the rush as Laviolette noted, but some of the leaks come down to Rinne, who couldn't keep Guentzel's game-tying goal from finding a hole and then offered up a juicy rebound to Bryan Rust which spurred the go-ahead marker. They could not survive the hockey tsunami, as the Penguins piled on, giving up four goals in a third period that started with the score tied 1-1 after two periods.More news: Trump takes sides in Arab rift, suggests support for isolation of Qatar