Top Four Goalie Matchups in the Round of 16

by Pub Sports Radio

Top Four Goalie Matchups in the Round of 16

By: Joe Borek (@jjborek26)

As we start the exhilarating round of 16 in the NHL playoffs today, I wanted to take a look at the best goalie matchups heading into the round. So without further ado, here they are. Enjoy all the great hockey this round all.

1. Corey Crawford Vs. Robin Lehner

The later in Lehner was, of course, acquired in a three-team deal between the Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, and Golden Knights in February. So for him, this is as he put in his tweet seen below awkward.

Peter DeBoer also confirmed Lehner would be in for game one tonight, according to Knights analyst Jesse Granger on twitter. That tweet can be seen at the end of the Paragraph. Lehner hit the ground running in three games with the Knights after being acquired from the Leafs technically and then carried that hot play into the round-robin (no pun intended). Lehner clearly earned his right to start here and will now look to carry to torch for the Golden Knights. If he does struggle, they do have a great fall back option in future Hofer Marc Andre Fleury. Now for the Blackhawks and Crawford this is simple. Just like Fleury, Crawford has tons of experience and has won Stanley Cups. Crawford is a two time Stanley Cup winner and has a career 2.34 GAA with a .918SV% .596QS% (quality start percentage). So for this one with Lehner, it is a battle of a younger breakout goalie with a very experienced netminder in Crawford. This will be a fun one to watch. Especially because both are in their contract years looking to impress. Highlights of the two can be seen below. Lehner in another uniform since he has only played a handful in Vegas thus far.  

2. Carter Hart Vs. Carey Price

Well, this one is for the ages and literally in a sense. Price is all-timer and, of course, a long time vet in this game. Where Hart is the newcomer that’s hot as a firecracker to start his career. Oh yea, and he is often compared to Price. Since when Price entered his career, he was able to step right in at a young age and have much success, just like Hart. Price is one of the most fun goalies to watch, not only of our time but of all time. He might not have won a cup yet, but that’s on his team, not him because time and time again, he carried the Canadiens. Including, along with fellow veteran Shea Weber, the first round of this postseason. Price is a beast and should have won the Vezina before. He does, however, not have the flashiest playoff stats overall, so it was good to see him have a fantastic first round. Now Hart, on the other hand, is a goalie Flyers fans, such as myself, hope captures a Vezina himself. However, I am sure there is another trophy they are more focused on right now. They hope the young netminder will be able to lead them to the Stanley cup as the favorite to represent the East. He certainly has the composure to do so. Guess who the other goalie was that put up stats like Hart’s at his age? If you guessed Price, then your right. So this is a fun matchup to follow because of two top goalies one a youngster and one a vet going against each other, but also because of the storyline. A highlight of Hart and Price can be seen below.

 

3. Darcy Kuemper and Philipp Grubauer/ Pavel Francouz

This is a matchup where we know each night the Coyotes will be running out Vezina caliber Kuemper. We do not, however, know about the Avs. It is likely going to be Philipp Grubauer who had a solid postseason last year for the team manning the crease unless he struggles for the Avalanche in an x game. He was the guy coach Jared Bednar went too in two out of the three Round Robin games. Therefore, it would be a bit of a surprise if he was not in net to start this series even after the stellar season of Francouz as a rookie. Grubauer last postseason for the Avs had a 2.30GAA with a .925SV% and a .583QS% to go along with it.  Now onto Kuemper, who is easy, to sum up in two sentences.
He is a Vezina caliber goaltender who always keeps his team in the game and carries them at times (many times) until they adjust and get going. Kuemper did just that last series against the Predators, to be a major factor propelling the Coyotes into this current round. He and Grubauer or impressive rookie Francouz is going to be a fun matchup to watch. On paper, this favors Coyotes, but we know how things never usually go exactly as they are on paper. Highlights of Kuemper and Grubauer (since he seems to be the favorite to start) can be seen below.

4. Jordan Binnington and Jacob Markstrom

Jordan Bennington, after coming onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere last year, has continued to play well this year. After leading the Blues to their first Stanley Cup win last year, Binnington now had the blues in first at the end of the regular season. A position they, of course, lost in the Round Robin dropping to four. Binnington and the Blues now need to bounce back in the first round after a rough Round Robin. He is a goalie that has already shown the ability to do so, having an up and down season this year while still putting up solid rounding out numbers. Binnington did, however, seem like someone when the adrenaline fully kicks in. He is just on another level. He showed that last year in the playoffs with 18 quality starts in 26 games for a .692QS% and a .914SV%. This, of course, was as a rookie as well who no one had pegged as a starting goalie at seasons start or even when he first got called up. It’s great to see Binnington rise from ECHL goalie to a Stanley cup winner.
Blues fans hope he can repeat it this season. Now for Jacob Markstrom, this is plain and simple. He, like Crawford and Lehner, is in a contract year and looking to impress. Markstrom had a robust Round Robin and will certainly look to build on that in this next round. Markstrom only has limited playoff experience, but like Binnington has been money. Markstrom only has four career playoff games from this season, but in three games, he had quality starts while getting a win in the one he didn’t still. So Markstrom looks to build on his numbers as he goes into a contract year, seemingly motivating him to play to higher heights. This is going to be one heck of a matchup to watch between Binnington, who even with a cup is still inexperienced in only his second season and Markstrom, who is looking for a big payday. Highlights of Binnington and Markstrom can be seen below.

So that rounds out my top four goalie matchups entering the round of 16 in the 2020 mega exciting NHL Playoffs. What are your top four? Enjoy all the excellent hockey today and throughout this thrilling playoff all.

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