The first round of the playoffs has had it all, overtime, big hits, great goals, and tons of excitement. One thing that seems to be missing, is a goalie that steps up to steal a series or even a game for that matter. Now I am not saying that there has not been good goaltending. I just feet that there has not been that one or two prime time goalie performances that we are used to in the playoffs.
The goaltending of Tuukka Rask has probably been the most consistent, and best performance thus far. He is definitely a force in net. He ended the five game series with a 1.16 GAA and a .961 save percentage. Very good, to say the least. The only other goalie that has posted a playoff performance close to the one of Rask thus far is Minnesota goaltender Darcy Kuemper. He was called upon to relieve a struggling Ilya Bryzgalov in net, and his 1.40 GAA and .940 save percentage has helped Minnesota climb back into their series with Colorado.
From there on the goaltending has been mediocre at best. The play of Carey Price was strong, but not convincing. He posted a sub par 2.33 GAA and a .904 save percentage. Price got the sweep for the Canadians, but was definitely not the key reason that the Habs advanced. The New York Rangers star netminder Henrik Lundqvist has posted three impressive wins, and a 1.81 GAA, and .926 save percentage. He has definitely helped lift the Rangers to within one game of advancing. Corey Crawford has also got the job done in net for Chicago. He is also one game from advancing, and has posted an impressive .927 save percentage and one shutout. The list of other goalie that have not been great, but also not been bad are Steve Mason of Philadelphia, Ryan Miller of St. Louis, Semyon Varlamov of Colorado, and Frederik Andersen of Anaheim.
Then there is the ugly. It is seems as though there is more goalies that are struggling in the playoffs this year. The most notable is superstar Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. Although he has led his team back into the series with two consecutive wins, his numbers are far from good. A 3.99 GAA and a .893 save percentage are far from his normal. His series counterpart in Antti Niemi is also not posted very strong numbers. His 3.90 GAA and .892 save percentage are also far from his norm. The play of Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been very good, but has also been the death of the Penguins. His game four fiasco has given the Blue Jackets life, and also pushed his mental game to the max again. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to this adversity.