Welcome to Part II of Justin’s Preseason Top 30 Goaltenders list. In case you missed rankings 30-21, here they are. Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at a couple more tendys that didn’t make the cut this year after gracing the list in 2012…
Ilya Bryzgalov, Free Agent: I caught a lot of flack for ranking Mr. Universe at #20 last season. Bryz is a very strange case. He is still a pretty decent goalie, but he is a massive headcase and the circus following him out of Philadelphia contributed to his omission from the list. It will be interesting to see if he is able to catch on with an NHL club at some point this season.
Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues: Halak actually ranked #12 last season, but recurring injuries and generally poor play pushed the Slovakian out. If he comes back healthy and has a strong, full campaign this year, don’t be surprised to see him back on the list next season. He is still only 28, but his lower-body injuries are starting to pile up, which is very concerning.
With that out of the way, rankings 20-11. Read more »
The Rangers were able to gut out a 3-0 win today against the New Jersey Devils to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final. The Blueshirts won despite 40 minutes of sub-par play, due to the absolute brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist, who finished with 36 saves. In a weird way, this game almost mirrored Game 1 in every way. A less than spectacular performance through two periods while keeping the game scoreless, followed by a Dan Girardi goal early in third, Chris Kreider giving the Rangers some breathing room and an empty netter. Let’s break this bad boy down…
- After Marian Gaborik drew a hooking penalty on Bryce Salvador early in the third, the power play went to work. There really isn’t much to break down on this one. Brad Richards won the draw in the offensive zone and Girardi slid into the slot to retrieve the puck and fired a laser past Marty Brodeur. There was very little traffic in front, Girardi just beat Marty clean for a much needed goal after the way the team played for the first two periods.
- John Mitchell started this play off with a fantastic, hard-working shift. He was able to get the puck deep into the offensive zone and try to kick-start the cycle. Cally got the puck around the boards up to McDonagh at the point, and McD fired on shot towards the net. Chris Kreider was in perfect position for a nice little deflection past Brodeur to widen the gap just a bit. With the way Lundqvist was playing, it seemed like the nail in the coffin for New Jersey. Read more »
Marty, Marty Marty….our old nemesis. We’ve been at this a long time. Ever since you were kind enough to give us MATTEAU! MATTEAU!, back in the ’94 playoffs. Marty Brodeur has had an unbelievable career and added plenty of fire and arrogant attitude to the rivalry the past 18 years or so. He holds many of the NHL’s goaltending records and is a sure fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. But let’s get under the hood of his style, even if he is not quite the force that he used to be. Same breakdown as always, general style, strengths, weaknesses, and how the Rangers should approach the matchup.
Marty is a artifact from a bygone era at this point. He started his illustrious career in the early 90’s and has diligently sheltered himself from evolutions of the position. It was only in the past couple years that he embraced new skates, a chest protector he didn’t wear in junior hockey, and wearing his pads a little looser. He plays by far the most old school style in hockey, relying on certain super-human skills (we’ll get to those momentarily) to keep his game relevant.
Marty also possesses an attitude a little too big for New Jersey itself. He is never afraid to vocally engage his opponents, the referees, or the league for that matter. His outspoken and aloof nature has drawn the ire of Rangers fans for years, and that attitude is a big part of his ability to intimidate opponents on the ice. Read more »