Goaltending Showdown in First Round Of Playoffs?

William LabineContributor IApril 9, 2010

MONTREAL- APRIL 3:  Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Montreal Canadiens makes a glove save on the puck during the NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on April 3, 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Canadiens defeated the Sabres 3-0.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

In short, the Vezina Trophy winner could be decided in the first round of the playoffs. Epic? I think so.

With the Habs only left to play the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs in the last game of the season, the Habs could be set to face their divisional rivals in the first round. Aside from the natural rivalry, Halak and Miller are gonna be trying to bring home the hardware.

The only obstacle in Montreal's way is Boston, who are most likely going to drop their next two. One against the red hot Hurricanes who are 4-1-1 in their last 5 and another and the Capitals who clinched the Presidents Trophy a while ago.

Montreal should have an easy game in TO on Saturday night.

Assuming that's the way everything works out, Montreal would have their hand full with Buffalo, who posted a 4-1-1 record against them during the regular season. But the big question, is who will be the big story? Ryan Miller, who is the front runner in the Vezina race? Or Jaroslav Halak, who is the main reason why Montreal is not squished between Toronto and Edmonton in the standings? Let's look at the stats shall we?

Halak has a .909 save percentage against buffalo this season, stopping 60 of 66 shots faced. But Miller has a much better percentage of .925 against Le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge. But to be fair, Halak has played only twice against them this season, which ranged from a shutout, to a dismal 6-2 loss. So with these wild statistics the only conclusion we can make is that it will be a showdown to remember for a long time.