You have to wonder what would make anyone strive to play the position of NHL goaltender? Willingly blocking 100 mile per hour shots from the best shooters in the world doesn't exactly sound like the most glamorous of jobs. Sure, the equipment ensures that a goaltender is safe, but that doesn't make the prospect of taking a Zdeno Chara slapshot to the head any less terrifying. Yet, year after year, world class goaltenders continue to be produced.
It isn't just the fear of the position that makes being a goaltender seem like an unappealing way to make a living. The job is a lonely one, it's the only one in hockey where you are completely alone. It's the only one where every mistake you make, winds up in the back of your net. It's a job where one minute you can be on top of the world and the next you could be sitting on the bench watching someone else do your job.
Perhaps what attracts people to the net is the glory that comes with success. As an NHL goaltender, no matter what the result, you have an impact on every single game. You may take the blame for every loss, but you could also garner praise for every win. A great NHL goaltender can single handedly win his team a game, a playoffs series, or even a Stanley Cup. If a goalie knows how to bring his A-game and get on a hot streak at the right time, it can be hard to put anything by him.
A great goaltender can make a bad team look good, a good team look great, or turn a great team into a dynasty. Here are 15 teams who found some form of success thanks to the man between the pipes:
15 2012-13 Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs finished the lockout shortened 2012-13 season as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference behind the stellar play of James Reimer and his 19-8-5 record with a .924 SV% and 2.46 GAA. The Maple Leafs team as a whole was not good, as evidenced by their 45 Corsi For % which was third worst in the league.
14 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche
Semyon Varlamov finished the 2013-14 season with a 41-14-6 record to go along with a .927 SV% and 2.41 GAA to finish second in voting for the Vezina Trophy and fourth in voting for the Hart. Colorado's 112 points - the third most in the NHL - gave fans in Colorado the belief that the team was finally on its way back to glory.
13 2001-02 Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens had missed the playoffs three years in a row heading into the 2001-02 season and the team's postseason chances took a hit before the season began when it was announced that team captain Saku Koivu had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The Canadiens received very little offensive production that season as Yanic Perreault was the only player to reach the 50 point mark.
12 2008-09 Columbus Blue Jackets
11 1987-88 New Jersey Devils
10 2014-15 Ottawa Senators
9 2014-15 Montreal Canadiens
8 1967-70 St. Louis Blues
7 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes
6 2003-04 Calgary Flames
5 1993-2012 New Jersey Devils
4 1973-1975 Philadelphia Flyers
3 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens were a young team coming off of three consecutive second round playoff losses to the Boston Bruins and weren't expected to contend for the Stanley Cup in 1992-93. They finished third in their division behind the Bruins and Quebec Nordiques and dropped the first two games of their opening round series to Quebec. Nordiques goaltending coach Dan Bouchard, who was also Patrick Roy's idol, proclaimed that they had solved Roy. This lit a fire under Roy who then went on a playoff record 11 game winning streak. Roy won the next four games against the Nordiques, swept the Buffalo Sabres, and won the first three games against the New York Islanders.
2 1992-2001 Buffalo Sabres
1 2002-03 Anaheim Mighty Ducks
The Mighty Ducks finished the 2002-03 season as the Western Conference's seventh seed, but stormed through the playoffs on the strength of one of the greatest playoff performances of all-time by Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Giguere marked his postseason debut with a 63 save triple overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings en route to a four game sweep of the defending champions.
The Ducks went on to beat the top ranked Dallas Stars in a six game series that featured a five overtime, 60 save performance from Giguere in a Game 1 victory.
The Ducks swept the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Final with Giguere giving up just one goal in the series.
While the Ducks would lose the Final in seven games to the New Jersey Devils, Giguere took home the Conn Smythe Trophy and finished the postseason with a .945 SV% and 1.62 GAA and five shutouts.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!