Playoff Preview

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Week of May 10 – May 16

Great Options

Petr Mrazek – Carolina Hurricanes: With the last week of the regular season nearing, the goalies that are cracking the great list are goalies to keep an eye on heading into the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes as an entire team have posted a great regular season and thus, Mrazek is the first goalie to crack the list. Since returning to the Carolina roster in April, the 29-year-old netminder has not picked up even one regulation loss. He currently has a record of 6-1-3, with a save percentage of .934 and a GAA of 1.77. When considering goalies who have played in at least 10 games, he has the highest save percentage and lowest GAA in the league. The Carolina Hurricanes will wrap up their regular season on Monday with a game against the Nashville Predators.

Alex Nedeljkovic – Carolina Hurricanes: With the Carolina Hurricanes slated to make a deep postseason run, Nedeljkovic is also another goalie to focus on. He is currently riding a three-game win streak. He has a record of 15-4-3, with a save percentage of .932 and a GAA of 1.89. While Mrazek has the best save percentage and GAA when looking at netminders with at least ten starts, Nedeljkovic is right on his heels as he rings in second in the league in both of those categories. Both members of this Carolina duo have to be on the radar heading into playoffs.

Marc-Andre Fleury – Vegas Golden Knights: Heading on over to the west, the Golden Knights sit at the top of their division and have showcased all year long that they have perhaps the best one-two punch in the league when it comes to goalies. Fleury in particular has been on fire as of late. He is riding a seven-game win streak and the 36-year-old netminder has only failed to crack a .900 save percentage once in his past 11 appearances. On the year, he has a record of 24-10-0, with a save percentage of .926 and a GAA of 2.07. Vegas has been putting Fleury in rotation with Lehner all season, but come playoff time Fleury’s vast experience may help him edge out more ice time than his counterpart. He is also likely to get the nod in the regular season finale for the Golden Knights on Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks so he is a must-start in that game as well.

Robin Lehner – Vegas Golden Knights: At the moment, Lehner has gone back-to-back games without posting a save percentage above .900. This is nothing to worry about though, as he went on a six-game win streak back towards the end of April. He has a 13-3-2 record, with a save percentage of .913 and a GAA of 2.30. Vegas is a very dominant team and they will more than likely have a long run in the playoffs. Thus, Lehner and Fleury are both phenomenal options. Lehner will likely end his regular season on Monday with a game against the Colorado Avalanche.

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Good Options

Ilya Samsonov – Washington Capitals: Before picking up a loss in his last game, Samsonov went on a four-game win streak. He has not been posting the best stats recently, as he regularly slips into the .800 save percentage range. Despite his individual stats, his record still sits at 13-4-1. He has a mediocre GAA of 2.69 and a save percentage of .902 so far this year. However, he is surrounded by a team that also has a strong chance of doing well in the playoffs and so he is definitely an important netminder to consider as the regular season comes to a close.

Tristan Jarry – Pittsburgh Penguins: Tristan Jarry is currently day-to-day for the Penguins with an upper-body injury. He will not play in their final regular season game, but head coach Mike Sullivan indicated that he will be back for playoffs. The Penguins currently hold the number one spot in their division and will attempt to have a long playoff run. Jarry individually has been a little inconsistent as of late, regularly alternating between strong and mediocre performances. However, he has still won eight of his past nine starts. This showcases how well his entire team is performing and if they can keep this momentum heading into the postseason then Jarry is for sure a good goalie option.

Editor’s Note: The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins face off Saturday on NBC starting at 3:00 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.

Bad Options

Jordan Binnington – St. Louis Blues: The Blues just clinched their playoff berth with an OT loss against the Vegas Golden Knights. However, they are still the fourth and final team to do so in their division. Binnington as an individual regularly slips below .900 in single-game save percentages and still has a lot of inconsistency in his game. He has a record of 16-14-8, with a save percentage of .910 and a GAA of 2.68. However, his ranking as a player to avoid heading into playoffs has more to do with the Blues as a whole, rather than just Binnington himself. The Blues are currently slated to play the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the playoffs and Vegas is definitely the heavy favorite in that matchup. Thus, it is a good idea to keep Binnington on the backburner heading into the postseason.

Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg Jets: Although he is the reigning Vezina winner, Hellebuyck falls to the bottom of this list heading into the end of the regular season. He picked up quite a few losses towards the end of April and posted some underwhelming performances. However, he did improve in his last game on May 5th against the Calgary Flames, where he picked up a 32-save shutout. The major reason he is an option to avoid though has more to do with his entire team than him alone. Similar to Binnington’s situation, the Winnipeg Jets are slated to have a tough first round in the playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers. Hellebuyck will really need to show up at his best level of play to help his team win that series, but with the doubt that looms around their chances of a long postseason he should be an option to at least consider avoiding. This is especially because there are so many goaltender options from teams who have more security heading into the playoffs.

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