Throughout this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs fans have been entertained with some of the best hockey ever.
Rivalries have been refuelled, top teams have been crushed, and now only two teams remain.
There have been plenty of glorious goals and spectacular saves. I believe the goalies have stolen the show for the most part in these playoffs.
The rookie goalies that had to play in relief of their teammates did exceptionally well.
Here we take a look at the four stand out replacement goalies in the 2014 postseason.
1. Dustin Tokarski - Montreal Canadiens:
This kid was unbelievable for the Canadians. He gave them a chance every game he played and stopped a total of 142 shots throughout his five playoff games.
He kept his composure under tremendous pressure and didn’t blame his teammates when they lost. He ended the playoffs with a .916 save percentage. You have to feel sorry for backup goalie Peter Budaj because Tokarski may have gone ahead and stolen his spot.
2. Darcy Kuemper - Minnesota Wild:
It’s a shame that this kid was forced to leave the playoffs due to injury. I mean no disrespect to Ilya Bryzgalov, but I believe Kuemper could’ve helped beat the Blackhawks.
In his six playoff games he tallied three wins and stopped a total of 116 shots. One of his three wins was in overtime as well. He ended his playoff run with a .913 save percentage. This kid is a real fighter. He tried fighting through the injury, and left everything out on the ice. I’m sure he’ll improve and be even better next year. It will be interesting to see where Ilya Bryzgalov will end up next season.
3. John Gibson - Anaheim Ducks:
The Anaheim Ducks seemed set to play Fredrick Andersen and Hiller for the playoffs. That strategy worked well in the first round, but when Andersen got injured things started to unravel quickly. And they could’ve got a lot worse if not for John Gibson.
Gibson got the call up after Hiller played some below average games. Gibson played a total of four playoff games and stunned the Kings on many occasions. He stopped 102 shots and ended the playoffs with a .919 save percentage.
There is no doubt in my mind that this guy will be a starting goalie next season where ever he ends up playing. He certainly has made his mark and impressed a lot of people.
4. Alex Stalock - San Jose Sharks:
Even though Stalock didn’t win any games, he still made some incredible saves. Head Coach Todd McLellan didn’t like the way Niemi was playing, so he tried to shake things up by putting Stalock in goal.
Stalock did his very best to regain momentum, but it was too late. He ended the playoffs with a .929 save percentage and stopped a total of 52 shots.
All of these goalies have made their mark and gave team management and hockey fans everywhere lots of exciting entertainment. There is no doubt in my mind that each of these goalies will be backup goalies for their respective clubs next season.
These guys have all shown tremendous potential and will only improve. They’ve all shown they can withstand a tremendous amount of pressure.
I can’t wait to see which one of these goalies will be able to win games consistently for their teams and propel them back into the playoffs.
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