Pekka Rinne Jersey

The Nashville Predators pulled goalie Pekka Rinne midway through the first period of the team’s 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Rinne — a Vezina Trophy finalist for the NHL’s best goaltender — allowed two soft goals, the first when Jets defenseman Tyler Myers’ shot went off Rinne’s blade and in for a goal at 8:41 of the first period.

Jets center Paul Stastny made it 2-0, finding the back of the net at 10:47.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette pulled Rinne, putting backup Juuse Saros in the net. It was the third time in the series — all in Nashville — that Saros came on in relief for Rinne.

“The biggest moment of the season, it’s a terrible feeling,” Rinne said. “You let your teammates down, and that’s what happened tonight. That’s tough to swallow.”

Saros did not fare better than Rinne, giving up three goals on the night.

Laviolette called the goals given up by Rinne “fluky.”

“There’s not a lot of things that you can do if a game’s not going your way if you can’t use your timeout,” Laviolette said. “It was way too early to use a timeout at that point. Again, I just tried to send the game in a different direction, put a pause in the game and send it in a different direction.”

Rinne’s 10:07 in the net was the least amount of time played by a starting goalie in a Game 7 in NHL postseason history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Stastny and Mark Scheifele each finished the game with two goals for the Jets. Scheifele’s postseason tally now stands at 11, the most in the NHL. He had seven of those goals in Nashville.

Connor Hellebuyck — who is also a Vezina finalist — made 36 saves for Winnipeg. He said seeing Rinne get pulled was “heartbreaking.”

Defenseman P.K. Subban scored the lone goal for the Predators on the board with a first-period power-play goal.

The Predators, winners of the Presidents’ Trophy for best team in the regular season, lost to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final last June. Nashville is now the the ninth Presidents’ Trophy winner in 10 years not to win it all.

The Jets will take on the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference finals for a shot at the Stanley Cup, with Game 1 set for Saturday in Winnipeg.

Ryan Johansen Jersey

Predators center Ryan Johansen skated past Winnipeg’s Toby Enstrom, got positioned in front of the net, and shot it into the left side for a goal.

Nifty. Clutch. And also a career highlight.

Johansen’s goal — which gave the Predators a 4-3 lead with 14:15 left in Game 2 at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday after the Jets had tied it just 34 seconds earlier — was his second of the game, marking his first career multi-goal playoff game.

Johansen was playing in his 42nd career playoff game.

His first goal came just 27 seconds into the game — this after the Predators failed to score until the third period of Game 1.

Johansen now has four goals this postseason and 13 for his career.

Colton Sissons Jersey

Sissons posted two assists in a 5-0 victory over the Avalanche on Sunday. The Predators won the series 4-2.

The 24-year-old continues to elevate his game when it matters most. In 190 regular season games, Sissons has averaged 0.25 points per game, but after his two assists Sunday, his playoff average jumped to 0.5 points per contest. Since the 2017 postseason, Sissons has nine goals and 19 points in 28 postseason games. It doesn’t get much better than that in the playoffs for a bottom-six forward.

Mattias Ekholm Jersey

Ekholm will join Team Sweden at the IIHF World Championship in Denmark.

Following Nashville’s series-ending loss to the Jets on Thursday, Ekholm — who racked up eight points in 13 games of the 2018 playoffs — will be a late addition to Sweden’s roster in the international tournament. He didn’t make it in time for Saturday’s thrilling (4-3 overtime) win over Slovakia, but there’s another match against the Swiss team scheduled for Sunday. Ekholm’s posted 100-plus blocked shots in four straight NHL seasons, plus he fashioned 10 goals and 24 assists over 81 regular-season games in 2017-18 to solidify his status as one of the game’s better two-way defensemen.

Craig Smith Jersey

Smith recorded 51 points in 79 games in 2017-18, including a career-high 14 points on the power play.

After three consecutive seasons of declining offensive totals, Smith took a major step forward this year, falling just one point shy of the career-best 52 points he posted back in 2013-14. A huge part of Smith’s success this season was the chemistry he enjoyed with Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala on the team’s second line, so there’s a good chance coach Peter Laviolette will look to stick with that same line combination next season. Don’t overlook the 28-year-old Smith at the draft table come October.