Power Ranking the Goalies in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs so Far
The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is nearly over, so it's time to pass judgment on all 25 goaltenders that have touched the ice in the postseason.
A few goaltenders have underwhelmed and lost their starting jobs over the past two weeks, while others have been stellar. There have been surprises, both good and bad, as some backups have carried their teams to the second round while others weren't able to save their teams.
Here are the 25 goaltenders ranked, including a few players who have been on the ice for less than 30 minutes. Everyone shall be judged based on how well they've played in the playoffs so far, how much they've played and the overall impact they've had on their team's performance.
All statistics via NHL.com
25-21: Corey Crawford-Jimmy Howard
25. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks: He was yanked in Game 2 and only got back in the net for Game 6, when he stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief as the Blackhawks eliminated the Predators. He is dead last in save percentage (.850) and goals-against average (4.19), but 13 saves in about 50 minutes will probably be used as an excuse to make him the starter again round two.
24. Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks: With Ryan Miller on the shelf, Lack was given the net to start the Canucks' first-round series. By the time it was over, Lack was on the bench. He had an .886 save percentage in four games.
23. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets: Four games, four losses, as Pavelec underwhelmed in his first postseason. The Jets squandered a third-period lead in all four losses, which is just as much an indictment of Pavelec as it is the team. Pavelec allowed four goals twice and five goals once.
22. Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues: Ken Hitchcock turned to Elliott in one of the most obvious examples of "too little, too late" during Game 6 against the Wild on Sunday. He made six saves on seven shots after replacing Jake Allen, who was horrendous in Game 6.
21. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings: One relief appearance. Eleven saves. Twelve shots. Fine work in a short window, like that one season of Freaks and Geeks.
20-16: Michal Neuvirth-Jake Allen
20. Michal Neuvirth, New York Islanders: He made six saves on six shots in 11 minutes of relief work in Game 5 against the Capitals. Hey, that's six more saves than you've made this postseason.
19. Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota Wild: Kuemper was nearly twice as good as Neuvirth, as he turned aside 11 shots in 23 minutes of relief work.
18. Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks: Once Miller took over for Lack, things didn't get much better. Miller had a .910 save percentage in three appearances, but he was at .884 in his two starts. Only two more years at $6 million per season left on his deal.
17. Karri Ramo, Calgary Flames: Ramo will be the answer to the trivia question, "Which goaltender won a playoff series for the Flames in 2015?" Ramo replaced Jonas Hiller in Game 6 against the Canucks and stopped 17 of 19 shots. That's not great, but you don't need to be great in order to beat Vancouver.
16. Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues: In his first true postseason experience, Allen let down the Central Division champs in a major way. He allowed two of the worst goals you'll ever see in an elimination game Sunday and finished the playoffs with a .904 save percentage in six starts.
15-11: Ben Bishop-Devan Dubnyk
15. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning: This is why you don't look at goals-against average when judging a goaltender. Bishop's is 2.21, which is great. But his .901 save percentage speaks to how he's killing the Lightning, a team that's suppressing shots magnificently.
14. Philipp Grubauer, Washington Capitals: Grubauer has won 100 percent of his starts in the postseason. He's 1-0 because he started Game 2 against the Islanders with Braden Holtby under the weather. That's probably the only way he will get a start the rest of the playoffs.
13. Andrew Hammond, Ottawa Senators: The Hamburglar went bad and has not seen the ice since Game 2 against the Canadiens. He allowed four goals in Game 1 and then a stinker in overtime in Game 2. He carried the Senators to the postseason but dropped them once he got there.
12. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators: He wasn't bad, but all he had to do was be better than the first round's worst goaltender and Scott Darling and he couldn't do it. He had a .909 save percentage in six games.
11. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild: Dubnyk wasn't great in the first round, but he recovered nicely from allowing six goals on 17 shots in a Game 4 loss to the Blues. He stopped 66 of 68 the next two games to send the Wild to the second round.
10. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks
Frederik Andersen was steady in the Ducks' four-game sweep of the Jets. He had a 2.20/.924 split, a slight improvement over his regular-season numbers, although he only had to face 118 shots.
Where Andersen was at his best was in the third period, when the Ducks trailed in each game against the Jets. He stopped 35 of 36 (.972) shots in the third period and overtime, which allowed the Ducks to register four comeback wins.
That's the type of goaltending the Ducks may need against the Flames, who showed all year that they will make a third-period push if they are trailing.
9. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
This poor guy. For years, Marc-Andre Fleury has been an anchor around the neck of the Pittsburgh Penguins, dragging them down in the postseason. If the Penguins fell short, it was usually because Fleury was scoring goals on himself or falling down or something along those lines.
In 2015, he was as good as he has been since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. His reward was four losses in five starts despite a .927 save percentage.
“He’s proven, for a long time, that that’s in the past," teammate Sidney Crosby said after the Penguins lost in five games to the Rangers, per Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy. "He doesn’t have to prove anything to us.”
8. Scott Darling, Chicago Blackhawks
If the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, it will probably be with Corey Crawford in net. If that does happen, it's important to never forget it wouldn't have been possible without Scott Darling saving the Blackhawks in the first round.
Crawford was a disaster in Games 1 and 2 against the Predators, but Darling stole Game 1 by making an NHL-record 52 saves in relief, although the Crawford damage could not be overcome in Game 2.
Darling won three games for the Blackhawks and did so with a stellar .936 save percentage, although he was pulled in the series-clinching Game 6 win. It was a season-saving performance that has a chance to be a forgotten footnote.
7. Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders
Jaroslav Halak was traded out of St. Louis at last year's deadline for Ryan Miller, a quiet indictment of the goaltender's health and ability to perform in the postseason.
With a Game 7 pending Monday night, Halak is a big reason the Islanders are still in their series with the Capitals.
Halak had a rough Game 5, but he has a .926 save percentage while going toe-to-toe with Braden Holtby. Halak has held the Capitals to one goal in three games and two in another. He may need to do that again in Game 7 if the Islanders are to advance.
6. Jonas Hiller, Calgary Flames
His name is Jonas. He carries the Flames.
It's hard to find a discussion about the Flames that doesn't involve grit or heart or comebacks or playing hard, but it's a lot easier to do all that when your goaltender has a .931 save percentage. Jonas Hiller had a rough Game 6 in Vancouver, but he's been otherwise fantastic for a team that's missing its best defenseman.
“Hills has been a very strong figure for us,” coach Bob Hartley said last week, per Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun. “He’s so calm. He doesn’t get rattled. He stays always in the game—every shot, he’s ready for it. I think that he’s a very, very big part.”
5. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Henrik Lundqvist missed nearly two months toward the end of the regular season with a vascular injury but hasn't missed a beat in the postseason.
The Rangers earned all four wins against the Penguins with 2-1 scores and needed overtime in two of those games. Lundqvist put forth the quietest .939 save percentage you'll never hear about, and he was a big reason why the Rangers aren't still fighting off a depleted Penguins team.
Now Lundqvist is resting while the Islanders and Capitals are in a knock-down, drag-out, seven-game series. Things are setting up well for Lundqvist and the Rangers in round two.
4. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price found a way to improve on his Vezina-winning (it's only a matter of time) regular-season numbers, and he had to do just that in order to hold off the hard-charging Senators.
Price put up a 1.94/.939 in six games after compiling a 1.96/.933 in the regular season. Once Craig Anderson took over in net for the Senators, Price had to raise his game, and he did just that with a 43-save, series-clinching shutout in Game 6.
Price gives the Canadiens a realistic chance of winning a Stanley Cup as long as he continues to play at this level.
3. Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings
No experience, no problem.
Rookie Petr Mrazek stole Jimmy Howard's job and now he's running with it in his first postseason. Mrazek has three wins, two shutouts and a .937 save percentage as the Red Wings look to pull the upset against the higher-seeded Lightning.
"He's an elite competitor," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "He's got good savvy about him. He thinks he's going to win. He's a confident guy, and he's got great athleticism, plays the puck well, and he's playing well for us."
2. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
Craig Anderson took over for Andrew Hammond after Game 2 and nearly carried the Ottawa Senators to a Game 7 after falling into a 3-0 series hole.
Anderson lost Game 3, but he stopped 47 of 49 shots in the overtime loss. He had a 28-save shutout in Game 4 and turned aside 45 of 46 Canadiens' shots in a Game 5 victory. Anderson allowed just one goal in Game 6, but Carey Price didn't allow any to end the Senators' season.
It's not too often a team gets a .972 save percentage in four starts from its goaltender and loses a series, but that's what happened to the Senators.
1. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Braden Holtby allowed three goals in Game 1 against the Islanders and missed Game 2 with an illness he battled in the opener. Since returning for Game 3, it's taken a minor miracle to beat him.
Holtby has a .945 save percentage in five games and a .957 in his past four games. He's had to keep up with Jaroslav Halak in the other net while facing an average of 33 shots per game.
“As a coach and a player on the bench, we know that he’s going to do for us what he’s done all year,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s played a lot of games and been a top guy for us all year. He’s growing in these playoffs and previous ones he’s played. It’s a big relief to have him back."
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.