Rookie goalies have once again been stealing the show in the race for the remaining playoff spots in the NHL.
Last season hockey fans were witness to spectacular performances by Montreal’s Dustin Tokarski and Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper.
This season two more goalies have risen to the occasion and continue to stun their opponents’ game after game.
1. Andrew Hammond – Ottawa Senators
Andrew Hammond came on in relief of the injured Robin Lehner on February 16th against the Carolina Hurricanes. He entered the net cold, coming off a 5-2 loss back in January against the St. John’s Ice Caps. The Sens army looked as if their season was over, sitting nine points back of a playoff position. But Andrew Hammond had other ideas. He carried his team, stunned his opponents and sparked one of the greatest comebacks the league has ever seen.
The Ottawa Senators have a record of 15-1-1 in their last 17 games. Hammond has an astonishing record of 14-0-1 in 16 games and posts a save percentage of .946. During this run, He has silenced top level teams like the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and most recently the San Jose Sharks. He’s re-ignited belief within his teammates and the fans and his college nickname “Hammond the Hamburgler” has followed him to the NHL as well. Due to his sensational success, the Ottawa Senators currently hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
2. Devan Dubynk - Minnesota Wild
Devan Dubynk has spent the majority of his career as a backup goalie and has moved around considerably in recent years. His resume of teams includes the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Coyotes and now the Minnesota Wild. However, his move to the Wild has given him a major confidence boost.
Dubynk is 23-6-1 since joining the Wild and has posted a save percentage of .937%. He’s accumulated five shutouts and broke a franchise record, becoming the first goalie to start 32 consecutive games since Jonas Hiller did so for the Anaheim Ducks in 2012. Due to this success, the Wild are still very much alive in the playoff race.
Both these goalies have proven their worth and have stunned the hockey world. They’ve been tossed into high pressure situations and excelled tremendously. These underdogs have made an impact that could tip the balance of the entire playoff race and maybe even the playoffs themselves.
I can’t wait to see which goalie can keep the streak going and carry their team into the playoffs this season.