Friday, April 17, 2009

2009 NHL Playoff Goaltending

Note from self: This post was written prior to this morning's Rangers-Capitals game so if there's no mention below of any 90 save or 15 goals against performances, that's why...


Goaltenders are weird. Similar to a box of chocolates as described by Forrest Gump, you never know what you're going to get (as exhibit A, I give you former Caps goalie Jim Carey).

This being the case, fans of this season's playoff teams have to simply hope their guy gets hot (or in the case of the Hurricanes a few years ago... hope their guy gets pulled and his replacement gets hot). The question that then arises is who is most likely to get hot and carry their team to the promised land (that being the Cup Championship for those not digging the metaphor).

Let's take a look see (on a 1-3 scale with 3 being most likely to reach "hotness" status):

Western Conference

San Jose Sharks: Evgeni Nabokov - 2. Good goalie, has never proved it at crunch time.

Detroit Red Wings: Chris Osgood - 2. Has been good enough to win a Cup before.

Vancouver Canucks: Roberto Luongo - 3. Me thinks he one of only two truly elite goalies.

Chicago Blackhawks: Nikolai Khabibulin - 2. Similar to Osgood, he's done it before.

Calgary Flames: Mikka Kiprusoff -2. Has been elite in the past, not so much the last two years.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Steve Mason - 2. I love his performance this season, but it's just one regular season.

St. Louis Blues: Chris Mason - 2. Would be tempted to give him a 1, but has played well the first two games.

Anaheim Ducks: Jonas Hiller - 2. Parallels to Steve Mason... excellent season, but relatively new on the scene.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins: Tim Thomas - 2. A great story and super fun to watch. Still new to the top tier, though.

Washington Capitals: Jose Theodore - 1. Yes, he previously won a Hart Trophy as league MVP, but certainly doesn't look like that guy this season (or this postseason as I wrote about the other day).

New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur - 3. Yep, he and Luongo are the only guys I see at this top level of potential greatness.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury - 2. Very solid. Should help him that he made it all the way to the Finals last season.

Philadelphia Flyers: Martin Biron - 1.5. He gets a fair amount of flak, but did get the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. That said, I stand by my writing that he should have had Bill Guerin's OT goal in game two.

Carolina Hurricanes: Cam Ward - 2.5. Has taken his team all the way to the Stanley Cup before.

New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist - 2.5. Great potential. Has carried his team at times.

Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price - 1.5. I keep hearing about how great he should be... haven't seen it much this season.

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