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Playoffs 2013NHL playoffs: East goalie storylines

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | 10:15 AM

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The eight starting goaltenders from the NHL's Eastern Conference. Which of these goalies will carry their team to the Stanley Cup final? (Photos courtesy Getty Images) The eight starting goaltenders from the NHL's Eastern Conference. Which of these goalies will carry their team to the Stanley Cup final? (Photos courtesy Getty Images)

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These are the goaltenders of the Eastern Conference who have helped (or even carried) their teams into the post-season, how they got here, and some of their best work from the lockout-shortened season of 2013.
Arguably the most important position on a hockey team, the role of the goaltender is not one to be taken lightly. And this is the time of year that the spotlight shines brightest in the blue paint.

These are the goaltenders of the Eastern Conference who have helped (or even carried) their teams into the NHL playoffs, how they got here, and some of their best work from the lockout-shortened season of 2013.

Marc Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

Wins: 23
Shutouts: 1
GAA: 2.39
Save percentage: .916

A year after the Penguins were ousted in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers, Fleury will look to avenge that series, which saw his team surrender 30 goals in six games. He was pushed by the off-season addition of Tomas Vokoun as his backup, and so the question now asked is how short of a leash does coach Dan Bylsma have on the Penguins' No.1 goalie?

Save of the season:



Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Wins: 21
Shutouts: 3
GAA: 2.59
Save percentage: .905

While he can be credited in large part for the Canadiens clinching a playoff spot a year after finishing dead last in the conference, Price also shared in the team's struggles down the stretch. The Habs surrendered 31 goals in the eight games since they clinched a post-season berth on April 11. Was that just a blip, or a sign of things to come in the playoffs?

Save of the season:



Price is also the owner of the most unfortunate save of the year, which came in warm-ups against teammate Lars Eller. Ouch.

Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

Wins: 23
Shutouts: 4
GAA: 2.58
Save percentage: .920

The young goalie guided his team to two Game 7 finals last season, before falling to the Rangers in the second round. That was valuable experience as Holtby and his teammates shook out of their slump this year and charged toward the post-season, and toward another playoff date with the Rangers.

Save of the season:



Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Wins: 19
Shutouts: 5
GAA: 2.00
Save percentage: .929

With the departure of Tim Thomas, Rask grabbed hold of the starter's job in Boston and never looked back. He may not have the ability to completely dominate a game like his predecessor, but Rask has proven his worth with Boston. He's among the league leaders in goals allowed and he plays with passion.

Save of the season:



James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs

Wins: 19
Shutouts: 4
GAA: 2.46
Save percentage: .924

The first Leafs goalie to suit up for the playoffs since Ed Belfour in 2004, Reimer deserves plenty of praise, especially since his team is in the bottom five of the league in shots against, with just over 32 put on the Toronto net per game. However, part of that abysmal total is due to some rebound control issues for the Manitoba native, who routinely saw one save turn into two or three.

Save of the season:



Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers

Wins: 24
Shutouts: 2
GAA: 2.05
Save percentage: .926

2012's Vezina Trophy winner struggled to start the season, but has been on a roll of late, and started the Rangers' last 15 games as they scratched and clawed their way into the playoffs. His  24-16-3 record may not look like much, but when compared to his save percentage of .926, it's not hard to make a case for Lundqvist as team MVP.

Save of the season:



Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators

Wins: 12
Shutouts: 3
GAA: 1.69
Save percentage: .941

Limited to just nine games after injuring his MCL following a collision with the Rangers' Chris Kreider on Feb. 21, Anderson picked up where he left off for a team that was struggling to put pucks in the net for the majority of the season.

Save of the season:



Evgeni Nabokov, NY Islanders

Wins: 23
Shutouts: 3
GAA: 2.50
Save percentage: .910

The Russian goalie is the steady beat behind the Islanders' first playoff appearance since 2007, and he accounts for most of the playoff experience (80 career games with the Sharks) the young team has. After years of enduring a goaltending carousel, Nabokov is a welcome sight in the New York crease, playing 41 games.

Save of the season:



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