NHL Eastern Conference goalie storylines | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaNHL Eastern Conference goalie storylines

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 | 11:00 PM

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The eight goaltenders that will lead their Eastern Conference teams into the Stanley Cup playoffs. (CBCSports.ca/Getty Images) The eight goaltenders that will lead their Eastern Conference teams into the Stanley Cup playoffs. (CBCSports.ca/Getty Images)

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Arguably the most important position on a hockey team, the role of the goaltender, is not one to be taken lightly. We look back at the season that was for the playoff-bound goalies of the Eastern Conference.
While each NHL team counts on many contributors in its run to the post-season, the spotlight often shines -- at times blindingly -- on the blue paint.

Time to look back at the season that was for the playoff-bound goalies of the Eastern Conference, their shining moments, and what questions they face heading into the NHL's second season.


Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price
Stats: 34-20-5, 2.32 GAA, .927 SV%

Following a first-round ouster at the hands of the Ottawa Senators in 2013, Price has led the Habs back to the playoffs while proving his mettle in elimination games by backstopping Canada to an Olympic gold medal.

Burning question: Hurt in last year's first-round loss, injured when he came back from Sochi... is Price prepared for a deep trip into the playoffs?

Highlight-reel save: Brendan Smith's point-blank slapper finds nothing but glove.

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Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury
Stats: 39-18-5, 2.37 GAA, .915 SV%

One year after being ousted from the starter's job during the first round against the Islanders, Fleury once again owns the Penguins' crease. However, that's almost by default, after backup-turned-starter Tomas Vokoun was sidelined in October with a blood clot.

Burning question: Will the Penguins need to score six goals every game to win the Stanley Cup?

Highlight-reel save: Fleury tracks and snags Erik Karlsson's wrister.

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Tampa Bay Lightning: Ben Bishop
Stats: 37-14-7, 2.23 GAA, .924 SV%

Finally a starter, Bishop has helped guide the Lightning back to the playoffs, and he did it without the help of star forward Steven Stamkos for much of the season. But a late injury may cost him the chance to start in the first round against the Habs. The Bolts are hopeful to have the big man back, since backup Anders Lindback has a 2.90 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. 

Burning question: Is the 6-foot-7 Bishop physically ready for the NHL playoffs?

Highlight-reel save: Bishop uses his size to deny Michael Ryder -- twice.

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New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist
Stats: 33-24-5, 2.36 GAA, .920 SV%

It's been a year of franchise records for Lundqvist (career wins and shutouts) but it's been 20 years since Mike Richter helped the Blueshirts to their last Stanley Cup.

Burning question: How far can Lundqvist carry a low-scoring Rangers offence?

Highlight-reel save: Hank shuts down Joffrey Lupul on the doorstep.



Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask
Stats: 36-15-6, 2.04 GAA, .930 SV%

It's been Tuukka time in 2013-14, as the Bruins netminder leads all playoff starters in goals-against average and save percentage. He also has an embarrassment of wealth on the blue-line in front of him.

Burning question: Can he take the Bruins all the way this year?

Highlight-reel save: Stops a re-directed Patrick Marleau shot in Sochi.



Philadelphia Flyers: Steve Mason
Stats: 33-18-7, 2.50 GAA, .917 SV%

In his first full season in the Flyers' crease, Mason has looked more comfortable than he did at the tail end of his time in Columbus, or than any other Flyers goalie in recent memory.

Burning question: Will Mason avoid the pressure that can squeeze goalies in the City of Brotherly Love?

Highlight-reel save: Mason goes post-to-post to stop Jay McClement.



Detroit Red Wings: Jimmy Howard
Stats: 21-19-11, 2.66 GAA, .910 SV%

Through a catastrophic amount of injuries (including his own) Howard kept the Red Wings' post-season appearance streak alive, clawing out wins in crunch time at the end of the regular season.

Burning question: Will a banged-up group of Detroit skaters be able to keep up their desperate play up in front of Howard?

Highlight-reel save: Kyle Brodziak is absolutely denied, while Doc Emrick finds a previously undiscovered octave.



Columbus Blue Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky
Stats: 32-20-5, 2.38 GAA, .923 SV%

The defending Vezina Trophy winner came oh-so-close to pulling the Blue Jackets into the post-season last year, but his efforts were rewarded in 2014 with a first-round date against the Penguins. 

Burning question: Now that the Jackets are back in the playoffs, can "Bobo" fend off the offensive firepower of the Penguins and get Columbus its first-ever playoff victory?

Highlight-reel save: Rick who?


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