Both the Western Conference Final and the Eastern Conference Final were interesting in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, notably because of the goalie matchups in both series. Marc-Andre Fleury and Connor Hellebuyck faced off in the West, with Braden Holtby and Andrei Vasilevskiy meeting in the East. The most interesting takeaway is that both the veteran goalies, Fleury and Holtby, led their teams past the playoff rookies Hellebuyck and Vasilevskiy for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Here’s a look at the details of each series, and all four goalies who were a part of them.
Marc-Andre Fleury is thriving as a member of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who currently sit just one win away from the Stanley Cup Final in their first year as a member of the NHL. Prior to being selected in the expansion draft, Fleury’s future with his former club, the Pittsburgh Penguins, was said to be uncertain. After moving to Vegas, he has proved all naysayers wrong, leaving virtually no room for criticism of the season he has put on for the Knights. With Pittsburgh out of the playoffs and with Fleury eyeing his fourth Stanley Cup championship, should the Penguins regret leaving him exposed this past summer?
Following a statistically shaky regular season and another premature playoff exit against the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round, San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones has become a question mark in net for many fans and analysts around the league. After being pulled twice in San Jose’s series against Vegas and having a string of poor outings for the Sharks, it wouldn’t be completely unfair to wonder if Jones isn’t the longterm solution in goal for Peter DeBoer’s squad. However, I believe that despite all the reasons to doubt him, the Sharks have nothing to worry about in goal.
In this 2017-18 NHL season, Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck burst onto the scene to steal the starting job in goal and cement himself as a top goaltender in the league. Hellebuyck broke into the league in the 2015-16 season, playing a number of games in relief of then-starter Ondrej Pavelec. It wasn’t until this year, however, that he proved he has the skill to be a solid starting goaltender and fill the spot the Jets have had missing for years.
Welcome back for Episode 7 of Puck SKLS! In this episode, we compare Taco Bell and Mighty Taco, and discuss the best way to spend $5. We talk bad coaches who should be exiled, and whether or not glasses make John Tortorella look mature. We compare the league’s best and worst fan bases (looking at you Philly), and praise the best bar food we’ve ever had (Hoolie’s!). We talk NHL playoffs and the NFL Draft, and how Cam Newton is a HOSS. Stick around for Lammers’s hottest take of the playoffs, and what we think of diehard minor league fans. No soft assholes. We wrap it up with the NHL’s most hated players bracket! Enjoy!
For the third Stanley Cup playoffs in a row, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will be meeting in the second round, with the past two series seeing Pittsburgh come out on top, going on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Also for the third year in a row, Caps goalie Braden Holtby and Pens goalie Matt Murray will be the guys between the pipes for their respective teams. Of the veteran Holtby and the young, already two-time Cup champion Murray, which goaltender gives their team the best chance to win and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals?
Following an 8-5 loss on home ice to lose their first-round playoff series against the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, one thing about the Philadelphia Flyers became glaringly apparent: their goaltending situation is uncertain, and ultimately, unsolved. For years, now, the Flyers have yet to find a steady goalie tandem, and following a 6-game series of blowout after blowout, they have some work to do in the offseason if they want to fix their problems in goal.
Episode 6 of Puck SKLS is here just in time for the playoffs! Except we’re a week late! We touch on how NBCSN sucks at covering hockey and all the dumb stuff they do. We talk old bags like the Bruins anthem singer and Ken Hitchcock, and discuss which NHL Head Coach is the biggest “unit.” Stick around for more Habs hate, and alternate universes where the Buffalo Sabres are good. We compare the NBA and the NHL, and talk about players who play Fortnite and give them some tips to get that elusive Victory Royale. Kok shoots his shot at the cute girl behind the Caps bench, and we wrap up with a playoff bracket for trivia! Soak it in and enjoy!
After a brief hiatus, we’re finally back on the attack with Episode 5 of Puck SKLS! Listen to an update of hockey news from the past month, a heartfelt discussion about the two girls with no cup retiring (the Sedins), how John Tavares makes everyone better, and Garth Snow does the opposite. Marc Bergevin, too. We talk weird hockey posters we had as a kid, how we enjoy reading the first paragraph of an Athletic article, and Eric Staal’s head size. Also, we cover NFL free agency and how Tom Brady likes a nice, tight end. We preview the best playoff series of this year, hockey field trips we want to go on, and wrap up the show with a Buffalo Sabres tank bracket for trivia. Enjoy!
On Tuesday, Washington Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz informed the media of his decision to go with goalie Philipp Grubauer over Braden Holtby for Game 1 of the playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Trotz said that he is comfortable with his decision for Thursday night’s game, but will evaluate it “game by game” after that. If history proves anything, this is a bad way to approach your goaltending situation going into the playoffs. Although Grubauer is fully capable of performing and winning games, this is still a mistake on the part of the Capitals’ coaching staff.