Martin Brodeur, Brian Elliot, Braden Holtby . Of those three names, you probably only know one of them unless you are a die-hard hockey fan. But they are all goalies who have been the difference in their given match-ups.
New Jersey Devils goalie, Martin Brodeur has been one of the most consistent and best goalies of all time. He has taken down record after goaltending record as each year goes by. And last night he took down one more by posting a shutout for the 24th time in the playoffs. He passed the legendary Patrick Roy to put himself in sole possession of the record. He was fantastic in his game against the Florida Panthers stopping every puck he saw and some he didn’t see. When you think about great goaltending you think about Brodeur and how he has kept up a solid level of play and consistently gotten the Devils to the playoffs year after year. He will always be remembered as one of the best.
Even though St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliot is not known by many, his stock has been rising and he will be known by all in the world of hockey if he keeps up his current level of play. After replacing Jaroslav Halak in game 2 of the Blues’ series against the San Jose Sharks, Elliot has refused to let up and has played better than many thought he could. Elliot has been a journeyman of sorts over the last few years, bouncing from team to team without really finding his place. That place appears to be between the pipes for the Blues. Between him and Halak, the Blues were able to make it back into the playoffs after a long drought and even secure a two seed and home ice advantage in the first round. I have become a big fan of Elliot ever since I saw him at a charity event this summer while writing for my hometown paper. I really hope he can keep it up and get the Blues to a Western Conference finals.
Last, but not least, is Braden Holtby. This guy, or should I say kid, is only 22 years old. That is the same age as me, but he is the one turning heads with his spectacular play so far in the playoffs. He was asked to step in when both the starting goalies for the Washington Capitols went down due to injury and he has not disappointed. He has allowed only 7 goals in 4 games with a 9.53 Save % and a ridiculous 1.60 goals against average. And he has done it against the power house Boston Bruins who are the #2 seed in the East. This kid has impressed everyone with his strong play and has been the only reason the Capitols are even at two games a piece with the Bruins heading into game 5. I can’t say how much this kid has grown on me as a goalie. I thought he would be toast having to go up against the likes of Zedano Chara and the rest of the Bruins all-star cast. But he has risen to the challenge and played well beyond what anyone expected of him.
If these three goalies and continue to play as well as they have so far, we could be in for one of the most exciting NHL playoffs in a long time. I can’t wait to see them back in action again in the near future.
That’s it for now,