With the 3rd round of the playoffs beginning today we’ve broken down how each goalie has fared throughout the playoffs. It’s Petr Mrazek against Tuukka Rask and Jordan Binnington against Martin Jones. For an in-depth look at where they’ve been scored on check out the breakdown here.
Tuukka Rask has been one of the best goalies in the playoffs. His timely saves have served as big momentum shifters for the Bruins and have given them the confidence to play a more offensive game knowing he’ll bail them out if needed. Rask has faced more shots per game than any other goalie left in the playoffs but he’s been more than up to the task. His -0.78 actual to expected goals against per game means he’s been saving his team over 3 extra goals every 4 games played, compared to league average goaltending. That’s better than any of the remaining starting goalies.
For the Hurricanes to take down the Bruins they’ll need to get as much traffic in front of Rask as possible. He’s been known to have a quick fuse and possibly igniting it might throw him off his game.
Petr Mrazek was dynamite in the first round and was looking strong in the second round before a lower-body injury sidelined him in Game 2. He’s expected to return for Game 1 but if need be Curtis McElhinney proved he’s more than ready to play if his number gets called. The Hurricanes have given up the fewest shots per game of any team left playing but more importantly, they’ve given up the fewest from the slot.
Their defense has been really stingy all playoffs but Mrazek will have to be at the top of his game because it doesn’t take much for the Bruins snipers to find the back of the net.
It can be argued that without Jordan Binnington the Blues would still be in, or near, the basement of the league. On January 2nd, the Blues were last place in the league, Binnington had his first NHL start on January 7th. Since then, they’ve been one of the hottest team in the league and his numbers have been off-the-charts good. Coming into the playoffs, there were doubts as to whether or not he would be able to continue his strong play. He’s had a few rough games but he’s always been able to bounce right back. His biggest asset is that he doesn’t get too high or too low as we saw when the Blues scored their overtime winner in Game 7. His reaction…well he didn’t have any reaction. He was cold as ice.
Coming into the playoffs, Martin Jones was a huge question mark for the Sharks. He’d had a tough season and it didn’t look like he was ready to turn it around. After his first four games, those question marks were just getting worse but since then he’s been lights out. In those 10 games he’s played since finding his game, he’s been arguably the best goalie in the playoffs. He has a -1.23 actual to expected goals against over that time, meaning he’s saved his team over a goal per game compared to league average goaltending.
For the Sharks to knock off the Blues, Jones will need to continue playing at this level. If he drops back to the way he played during the season, the Sharks will quickly find themselves in trouble.
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)