NHL Week in Review (April 15-21)

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It is one of the most common themes in the NHL playoffs every year as teams constantly look to one position to help lead them to the Finals.

Goaltending is always an important part to any team no matter the time of year but there is something about the position in the playoffs.

Although a team can generally make a good run at the playoffs with decent goaltending it is great goaltending that wins championships.

There has rarely been a Stanley Cup champion that hasn’t seen a spectacular performance from their goalie throughout the playoffs.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that the goaltender is considered one of the best going into the playoffs.

Some of the best goaltenders in the league have had times where the playoffs have simply been too big for them.

They are considered amazing goaltenders who just couldn’t find their groove in the playoffs and never could take the biggest prize.

Then there are the goaltenders who come alive in the playoffs and make it there own despite never been heard from much in the regular season.

These are the goalies that become legends if only for the one run that they were able to make while they could.

Often these goalies find their way to a backup role in the next season and usually, they are rarely heard from again.

There are only a few goalies who are a strange mix of consistency that can be great no matter the situation.

No matter what though the NHL playoffs lead to that need for a goaltender more than any other point in the season.

As the games get more important the fact is that the talent just never stops coming and the best players in the world find ways to make their mark.

That can make things tough on the defence as fast and skilled players will always find a way through leaving the last line of defence.

If the goalie is letting in easy shots and not standing up in front of good shots there isn’t much a team can do.

They need that support so that when a mistake is made and one of those really good players it isn’t the end of the season.

Teams need that goalie to be great and when a goaltender can be great in the playoffs they can steal a game.hockey-sidebar

They are certainly not the only important part of a playoff team but when one player can have that kind of impact it is important to have someone that can be great when they need it.

With the playoffs continuing on teams are beginning to see the reality of the Stanley Cup as a number of teams have already found their way to the second round.

The Vegas is riding one of their top picks in the expansion draft towards the Cup beating the Kings on the back of Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Sharks are making another run through the playoffs beating the Ducks thanks in large part due to the performance of Martin Jones.

In Winnipeg, the Jets have relied on Connor Hellebuyck throughout the season and he remains a big part of their team after they got through the Minnesota Wild.

All three teams that are moving on to the next round are relying heavily on their goaltenders to bring them through the playoffs.

Other teams are just trying to figure things out as they continue to make decisions on their goaltending situation.

Washington struggled to start their series having decided to start Phillipe Grubauer rather than Braden Holtby.

With Holtby back, they are now tied and if Holtby can be their guy they could make a run as he has proven to be a good goalie.

There are plenty of other teams looking to see a goalie step up like in Colorado where a former Ottawa playoff hero, Andrew Hammond stepped in to extend the series.

The rest of the teams are looking to find that guy that can backstop them to the Cup and someone will step up to be that goalie.

Things are just starting up as the first round is about to end with teams finally solidifying their spots one step closer to the Cup.

Overtime

Vegas Story Continues

It has been an unbelievable ride for the NHL’s newest team as the Vegas Golden Knights have gone from expansion franchise to the best team in the Pacific division. As the season moves on the hockey world wonders when things will end for the team. They were never supposed to be in the playoffs and now they are into the second round. What is more spectacular is the fact that they got to the second round by sweeping the Los Angeles Kings and remain a potential favourite to go all the way.

Passing a Legend

There is little doubt that Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL and he has always had that moniker over his head. From the moment he began his career he was supposed to be great and now he is beginning to solidify that legacy. As he continues to lead the Penguins to their pursuit of a third straight Cup he put himself amongst some pretty special company passing Mario Lemieux as the all-time leading playoff scorer for the Penguins.

Another One Bites the Dust

Changes continue as the rest of the teams look towards the new season trying to fix the issues that they experienced this week. The Calgary Flames were supposed to be a team to watch this year as things were looking good for a young team that was getting better every year. They fell short of those expectations and as a result, they fired Glen Gulutzan after two seasons with the team.

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