NHL Playoffs: Top 7 Goaltenders Heading into the Playoffs

James MaahsContributor IIIApril 4, 2012

NHL Playoffs: Top 7 Goaltenders Heading into the Playoffs

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    Any team that has serious thoughts about winning a Stanley Cup needs a solid goaltender behind it.

    Without stellar play from a team's goalie come playoff time, it will be only a matter of time before that team is eliminated.

    Of course, some goalies are better than others, and that can go a long way in determining who will make the Stanley Cup Final and who will be knocked out in the first round.

    From a fantastic save to a soft goal given up, each and every play made by the goaltender can dictate how a series will turn out and ultimately who walks away the winner.

    In homage to that, these are the top seven goaltenders heading into the NHL playoffs.

7. Roberto Luongo

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    Sure, he's been streaky and even a little bit of a "headcase" when games get out of control. But this list would not be complete if Roberto Luongo was not on it.

    The Olympic gold medal winner is still looking for his first Stanley Cup, and if he plays well enough, it just might happen. 

    Luongo has been sharing the net with Cory Schneider this season, but nonetheless he will be the man come playoff time.

    Luongo has a .919 save percentage and a 2.46 GAA.

6. Martin Brodeur

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    Martin Brodeur has already cemented himself as a Hall of Famer.

    Being the all-time leader in wins and shutouts, Brodeur will look to add one more Stanley Cup to his resume.

    His play this season has propelled the New Jersey Devils to a playoff spot with the hope that they can hoist the coveted Stanley Cup.

    Brodeur has a .906 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA.

5. Tim Thomas

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    The experienced Stanley Cup champion looks to be one of the best goalies in the NHL playoffs.

    The Boston Bruin has a very unorthodox style of play that tends to get him in trouble from time to time. But when he's on his game, he is nearly unbeatable, as proved by last year's effort in the Stanley Cup Final.

    Thomas has a .921 save percentage while holding a 2.35 GAA.

4. Henrik Lundqvist

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    Henrik Lundqvist is the main reason why the New York Rangers are going for the Presidents' Trophy this season.

    He's a really skilled and fast goalie that has the uncanny ability to steal a playoff series if need be.

    Lundqvist has a .931 save percentage and a 1.93 GAA.

3. Pekka Rinne

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    One of the bigger goaltenders in the league at 6'5" and 209 lbs, Pekka Rinne is almost impossible to score against if on his game.

    Once offensive players are able to penetrate an already tight Nashville defense, they will have to solve the problem that is Pekka Rinne.

    Rinne has a .922 save percentage and a 2.43 GAA.

2. Jaroslav Halak/Brian Elliott

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    One cannot talk about the success that the St. Louis Blues have had this season without bringing up both Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott.

    It only seemed fair to include both of them on this list, as they have shared time in the Blues' net. Both have helped the Blues win the Central Division.

    Combined, they have 15 shutouts, which leads the NHL.

    Halak has a .925 save percentage and a 1.97 GAA.

    Elliott has a .943 save percentage and a 1.48 GAA.

1. Jonathan Quick

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    The backstop of the Los Angeles Kings, Jonathan Quick has been stellar this season.

    Quick leads the league with 10 shutouts this season, two of which came against the offensively powerful Chicago Blackhawks.

    Look for Quick to be a major factor in how deep the Kings make it in the playoffs this year.

    Quick has a .931 save percentage and a 1.89 GAA.