My goal is to provide entertaining and thought-provoking articles and great videos. Thanks for visiting and I hope that you come again!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fleury Blowing Penguins Cup Quest — Bryzgalov — Playoff Goaltending and Predictions

In Fleury’s three games against the Flyers his Save Percentage is utterly brutal at .798 and his GAA is an abomination at 6.34. He faced 84 shots in the three games and let in a brutal 17 goals! That is a goal every fifth shot! In the regular season his goaltending was excellent (but not outstanding) and his Save Percentage was .913 and his GAA was 2.36. He has totally collapsed mentally in this series against the Flyers, but when you examine his playoff record over the past six years he has only been outstanding one year (and that was in the 2008 playoffs when his Save Percentage was .933 and his GAA was 1.97). In the 2009 playoffs, the recent year the Pens won the Cup, he played respectably and his Save Percentage was .908 and GAA 2.61. However, in the 2010 playoffs his Save Percentage was only .891 and GAA 2.78; and, in the 2011 playoffs his Save Percentage was also less than stellar at .899. All said, he has not played well in the playoffs for the last two seasons and this year he is so brutal that he is sucking the energy and desire from his teammates. The Penguins have fought hard for goals but when they have had a lead or have come from behind to be within striking distance, Fleury has collapsed and allowed goals that have taken the wind out of his team and that have been responsible for three losses in a row.

If the Penguins had better back-up goalies, Fleury would have been pulled in Game 2 and would never have started Game 3. It would not be a surprise if they acquired a goalie before next year (likely a free agent who wants a good shot at a Cup), and they may select one in the draft as well. Early in the season I wrote an article entitled: “Best Goalie Duos and the Advantages that they Provide,” and in that article I stated that having two good goalies was a huge advantage in the regular season and also in the playoffs if a goalie got hurt or was not playing well. The teams that have a big goaltending advantage are the Blues (Halak and Elliott), Bruins (Thomas and Rask who was injured), Rangers (Lundqvist and Biron), and the Kings (Quick and Bernier who has had a tough season but his more recent games were better). Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera have also proven to be a good pair. The Canucks have a good duo when Luongo is playing at his best; however, he has not been consistent this year and is highly overrated—and his stats prove that he is not the elite goalie that people want to make him out to be. Elite goalies have great yearly stats—always. Luongo also has not always taken responsibility for his bad play, and in fact he has shifted blame on his teammates—and this is one reason why they prefer to play with Schneider between the pipes, and another reason is because Luongo is making a lot more money than most of his teammates despite the fact that he is not contributing more to the team.

Are the Penguins Out? — Bryzgalov

The chances of the Penguins coming back in the series are not good, but I am not giving up on them yet because Bryzgalov is a brutal playoff goaltender too. I predicted Bryzgalov to play poorly in these playoffs because he was absolutely terrible in last year’s playoffs when he was with the Coyotes. He simply cannot deal with the stress. In the three games against the Pens his Save Percentage is very poor at .868 and his GAA is 3.96.

Playoff Goaltending

You have to have good goaltending to win Stanley Cups. I predict that the Flyers will fall short due to Bryzgalov. The Blues (Elliott and Halak) and Predators (Rinne) are going to be tough in the West, and the Kings are surprising thus far with Jonathan Quick standing on his head (as he did most of the regular season too). Mike Smith also has the ability to shut-down teams. I give the Predators the nod to win the Western Conference due to Rinne, the addition of Radulov, and some trades (that were focused on winning the Cup this year). In the East, if the Bruins do away with the Capitals I expect Thomas and company to cruise through the Round 2 and also win Round 3 and return to the Finals. The Rangers are overrated and the only reason that they are up 2-1 in games on the Senators is due to Lundqvist. The Sens won three of the four regular season games and are a better team. Lundqvist won’t be enough if the Rangers make it to Round 3 and play the Bruins. The Devils can beat anyone except the Bruins and therefore need the Caps to pull-off an upset. The Devils need better goaltending because they lost to the Panthers tonight and are down 2-1 in the series. 

TJ Stanley