We juggle with the guards

We juggle with the goalkeepers


One of the things that stands out from this playoff is the importance of having two good goaltenders. This is true in the season and it is also true in the playoffs.  

Hopefully Habs general manager Kent Hughes takes notice and drafts accordingly. I even wondered if we didn't use Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning) and Connor Hellebuyck (Jets) too much during the regular season. 

They are two of the best goaltenders in the NHL , but for some reason their performances haven't lived up to expectations since the start of the playoffs, at least before yesterday's games. Is it fatigue? Hellebuyck played 64 games, and Vasilevskiy 60. 

I hate to ask myself that question because I still believe that a real number one should play close to 62 games and the auxiliary 20. Still, those 20 games are very important in the context of a team struggling to compete in the playoffs. 

It's true that not all teams are betting on an elite goalie and if I'm not completely converted to the alternation yet, I'm taking notes, but it's is a new mentality.

The fact remains that to date, in this first round of the playoffs, the Panthers and the Wild have granted starts to two different goalies; the Oilers are about to give one to Jack Campbell and that's not to mention that due to injuries, the Golden Knights are betting on their number three goalie in Laurent Brossoit and the Hurricanes, on their number two in Antti Raanta . 

The good news in Winnipeg and Tampa is that there are no questions about the identity of the goaltender for the next game, but elsewhere it is different. 

< strong>Lyon or Bobrovsky? 

Take the case of the Panthers. Due to the absences of Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight, Alex Lyon played the last eight games of the season and it was he who took the team to the playoffs. 

Lyon deserved to start the playoffs and even went for a 6-3 win over Boston in Game 2. However, with a 0-3 third period deficit in Game 3, coach Paul Maurice retired him. Sergei Bobrovsky played Game 4, a 6-2 loss (30 shots, 5 goals against) in which he was not brilliant. 

The Panthers are becoming a new version of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that can't make it past the first round, and we always have questions in net. Who will be Maurice's choice to avoid elimination in match number 5?  

While Lyon can't be blamed for much, to beat the best team in the NHL, Maurice has to pick the one with the best chance of stealing a game and that's Bobrovsky. He's not in the form of a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, but he's the Panthers' best card and the last game saw him rust away. 

Why Fleury ? 

I had no problem with Wild coach Dean Evason starting the playoffs with Filip Gustavsson. After his superb season, he deserved the first start and he was superb in a 3-2, 51-save double-overtime win at Dallas.  

But why the hell come back with Marc-André Fleury in Game 2? After such a performance, a coach does not want to break the rhythm of his goalkeeper. Moreover, it was unfair to Fleury. Replacing a goalkeeper who has just had an exceptional match is always difficult. Evason is a personal friend and I will definitely speak to him about this decision when I have the chance.

– Interview by Gilles Moffet 


Opportunity for Campbell 

Jack Campbell

Despite a great season, Stuart Skinner hasn't been particularly impressive in net for the Oilers. Taking over in game four, Jack Campbellmanaged to stop the Kings' momentum and help them overcome an 0-3 deficit, to win 5-4 in overtime and tie the series 2-2. Campbell has a golden chance to redeem his season. The Oilers MVP is Leon Draisaitl, but rest assured Connor McDavid hasn't said his last word. I can't wait to see how Joonas Korpisalo rebounds in net for the Kings. We know the Oilers can score goals, but they have to limit the chances against them. 

The Tough Kraken 

I often say that the first round of the playoffs is the toughest, so the Kraken of Seattle was one goal away from coming back from Colorado with a 2-0 series lead. Still, if there's one series I expected it to be one-sided, it's this one. 

Toronto Newspapers 

Andrei Vasilevskiy

I was reading the Toronto papers before yesterday's game and it seemed to take Andrei Vasilevskiy out of the equation. I don't know how it ended yesterday, but you should never count to beat a goalkeeper of his caliber. Don't forget that the Nordiques were leading 2-0 against the Canadiens in 1993 when Daniel Bouchard said he had found fault with Patrick Roy. We know the rest.  

Dubois makes you dream 

Pierre-Luc Dubois

At this moment, I don't know if the series is tied 2-2 or if the Golden Knights lead 3-1, but I really liked what I saw of Pierre-Luc Dubois on the Jets. I understand those who dream of seeing him in a Canadiens jersey. The loss of Josh Morrissey hurts the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck will have to be miraculous in front of his own net. 

We juggle with the guardians