2011 NHL Playoffs: Goaltending Rules Series Openers

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2011 NHL Playoffs: Goaltending Rules Series Openers
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Ryan Miller recorded just the second playoff shutout of his illustrious career

With all eight series being one game in, only one thing can be said for sure: Goaltending is once again king.

Four of the eight games have featured shutouts. The names may not surprise anyone: Ryan Miller, Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury and Roberto Luongo are all among the best goaltenders in the game.

But the reality is the four goalies had combined for just nine shutouts over their careers, and were facing teams in the top-seven of the league in scoring during the regular season. Moreover, none of their teams beat the opposing goalie more than twice.

Not one of the losers in the other games scored more than two goals. Only 28 total goals were scored (1.75 per team), and the only teams to score four goals were almost as much of a surprise as the lack of scoring in the other six games...

While the Detroit Red Wings are among the league's elite offences, they weer up against Ilya Bryzgalov. Only four goalies had more wins, and only three had fewer shutouts; he finished ninth in the league in save percentage.

Meanwhile, no team entered the playoffs having scored fewer goals than the Nashville Predators, who notched four against the Anaheim Ducks on the road.

The other game to feature five total goals scored was San Jose-Los Angeles, one of two games that went into overtime (click the following link to see a recap of the contest). No other Game 1 had more than three total scores.

If the league's position has been that scoring is good for fans and the game, they might need to get rid of the early whistles (and especially "intent to blow") and go back to calling games tighter to result in more power plays.

Or they could see how good this is for the game. After all, contests in which any mistake or lucky break could be the game-winning goal have more intensity and make for good theatre.

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