Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/10/12 at 11:42 AM ET
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
The easy thing to do is to blame the shot blockers.
Yes, they must be the reason why goals are down (from 2.8 per game last year to 2.5 this year) and the favourites keep falling out of the playoffs. Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Boston. And now Philadelphia, a team with the two top scorers in the post-season and the No. 3-ranked offence in the regular season.
All because star forwards like New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk are skating back into the defensive zone and taking one — or several — for the team. One columnist derisively coined what we are seeing as Robo Hockey, because players are not only sacrificing their body but their skill and creativity in the name of saving a goal.
It is a nice theory. And to an extent it is probably true. But so too is a simple tenet. Good goaltending wins games.
Excluding Cory Schneider, who had a .960 save percentage for Vancouver in three first-round games, the top goaltenders in the post-season have been Los Angeles’s Jonathan Quick (.949), Phoenix’s Mike Smith (.948) and, heading into Wednesday night, New York’s Henrik Lundqvist (.937). Quick and Smith will meet in the West final.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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