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Four Goalies Teams Want To Avoid During the First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Photo of Valentina Casamento

With the first round underway it’s time to see which goaltenders teams are going to want to steer clear of.

Four Goalies Teams Want To Avoid During the First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

In hockey, everybody looks to the goaltender to assist in keeping their team in games. During the postseason, goaltending is more crucial than ever. For these four goaltenders, opposing teams actually look at them with fear in their eyes. With the stakes at their highest and the first round of the NHL Playoffs starting last night, here are the four goalies that opponents are not looking forward to facing.  

Carey Price - Montreal Canadiens 

After being robbed of a full opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup semifinals last postseason against the New York Rangers, Price is healthy and ready to take on Ottawa in the first round. Price finished out the season with impressive achievements: a 43-16-6 record, a league-leading .934 save percentage, and nine shutouts. 

Whether or not Price will win the Hart Trophy and be named the league's MVP, he is still a goalie that no team wants to face. Providing goaltending that was better than average in 42 of his 65 starts, he boasts a .851 save percentage on scoring chances where the league average is .801.

Ottawa is going to have their work cut out for them against Price, and if they are really looking to get by Montreal, they are going to have to top the best goaltender in hockey.

Andrew Hammond - Ottawa Senators

The undrafted British Columbia native known as the "Hamburglar," Andrew Hammond, is having one heck of a season. It is one of the most remarkable seasons in NHL history. The 27-year-old goaltender has a 19-1-2 record and a .939 save percentage, making him a huge part of Ottawa's run to the playoffs. He's given up two goals or less in 18 of his starts and posted a strong save percentage as well. Hammond's ability to post W's is what makes him especially dangerous, however.

Hammond is a strong candidate to get hot, and a hot goalie during the postseason is something any opposing team has to be worried about. If they get past Montreal, look out.

Pekka Rinne - Nashville Predators

After having a pretty good season, the Nashville Predators and their holy grail of a goaltender, Pekka Rinne, have secured a playoff spot. With the help of Rinne, the team may have a chance at moving past the first round. Rinne is one of the highest rated goaltenders per Hockey Reference's point shares metric, a statistic that measures how many points the goalie actually contributes to the team's overall total. Rinne had the best season of his career and is playing better than he was back when the Predators made the playoffs in 2011-2012. He helped Nashville advance to the second round behind a .929 save percentage before losing to the Red Wings, but if Renne can stand on his head this postseason, the Predators have a chance to go deep.

Devan Dubnyk - Minnesota Wild

Before Devan Dubnyk, the Minnesota Wild looked like a lost cause. As the third worst team in the Western Conference on January 14th, GM Chuck Fletcher took on a deal that sent a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft to the Arizona Coyotes for the goalie. When Dubnyk started the next day, January 15th, Minnesota's stats took a turn for the better. Since joining the team, he has built up an impressive 27-8-2 record with a .938 save percentage. He also added five shutouts and helping clinch a wild-card berth for Minnesota to his resume. Before the trade, Minnesota's goaltenders gave up 64 goals on 308 high-danger shots, but in the 38 games since Dubnyk's arrival, he has allowed only 38 goals on 267 high-danger shots. That improvement has helped turn things around for the Wild.

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