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Rinne bothered by shootout woes

Mar 12, 2013, 9:53 AM EDT

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NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 9: Matt Cullen #7 of the Minnesota Wild scores the shootout game winning goal against Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators during an NHL game at the Bridgestone Arena on March 9, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is an early contender for the Vezina Trophy, but put him in a one-on-one situation after overtime and he’s very beatable.

Rinne has suffered an NHL-high five shootout losses and has an abysmal .556 save percentage in that category. For a team that frequently can’t settle games in the first 60 minutes, that’s a big problem.

“I feel like I’m probably not so comfortable right now in shootout situations,” said Rinne, according to The Tennessean.

“It’s rough when you don’t do well in shootouts because in the past, I feel like it’s always been something that I liked and I’ve been pretty strong in them. This year it’s just that something is missing and I get frustrated over that, and I should be just even-keeled.”

Rinne would describe himself as “terrible in the shootouts” so far this season, but Predators coach Barry Trotz wasn’t nearly as harsh on his goaltender.

Trotz feels his shooters need to do a better job giving Rinne some breathing room in shootouts. He also thinks that Rinne is putting too much pressure on himself.

“He knows we win a couple shootouts, we’re in fifth place, not 11th, and that’s just the difference right now,” Trotz said. “He’s so competitive. He’s just got to relax a little bit. I know it’s hard when he’s so competitive, but he’s a big reason we even get points a lot of nights.”

Nashville will start a rough five games in eight days road trip on Tuesday with a contest against the Dallas Stars. They will be relying heavily on Rinne to get them through it.

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