Tag Archives: Dan Boyle

Surprise: Goalies are the key in the Stanley Cup Finals

1 Jun

Roberto Luongo // photo courtesy of David Steadman

No position is more vital to playoff success than the goaltender in hockey. The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals feature two of the NHL’s elite. So who will be the difference?

Statistically, Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas have had almost identical playoffs. They both have 12-6 records, 2 shutouts and have 2.29 GAAs.
But those stats are misleading.

Luongo got off to a rough start, being benched in favour of Cory Schneider (pff), before showing why I’ve been calling this guy the NHL’s best goalie since 2005. Since closing out the defending champs, he’s only allowed 2.18 goals per game, and has posted a .932 save percentage.

While never having to ride the pine, Tim Thomas has lacked Luongo’s consistency as of late. Sure, he posted two shutouts against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals, but he also had four games where he allowed either 4 or 5 goals. Surprisingly, the Bruins actually won one of those games.

That won’t happen against the Canucks.

Tim Thomas needs to be better for the Bruins to win // photo courtesy of rubyswoon

Both teams need their goalies to play well, but Boston needs it more. Boston prides itself with their defensive style of hockey. But how good are you when 4 or more goals are scored four times in a playoff series? The Canucks have scored 3 or more goals in 11 of 18 games, against some of the league’s top defenders (Chicago’s Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, Nashville’s Shea Weber and San Jose’s Dan Boyle) and scored at least 3 goals every single game against San Jose in the Western Conference Finals.

Vancouver has all the momentum. They’re firing on all cylinders at a time where the Bruins can’t keep the puck out of their own net. While I believe Tim Thomas should have been the regular season MVP, he needs that version of himself to show up for his team to have a chance.

Prediction: Vancouver in 6

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