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PUCK LISTS are lists of hockey things. They run every Thursday on Puck Daddy.
Everyone rightly took notice of the performance Jake Allen turned in against the Minnesota Wild in the first round of these playoffs.
He stopped all but eight of the 182 shots he faced in just five games (more than 33 per 60 minutes!) and basically won the series by himself. The St. Louis Blues were badly outshot, outchanced, out-everythinged-except-outwon.
So in honor of Jake Allen, who’s probably about to come crashing back down to earth with enough force to alter the planet’s rotation, wouldn’t it be so nice to think about other times goalies absolutely stood on their heads and made everyone in another city really mad?
Yeah it would be! So here’s a bunch of them!
8. Mike Smith vs. Chicago, 2012 first round
Hey remember how Chicago used to be incredibly good? Yeah, they got beat by Mike Smith once. So there goes that theory.
In the first round in 2012 — two years since the most recent Chicago Cup win and one year before the next one — Smith went .950 in a six-game series win against the most dominant team of the era. His only two losses were in overtime.
He faced 95 shots in the first two games alone, and stopped all but six of them. The next two games, in Chicago, he stopped 65 of 67. Then he lost again in overtime of Game 5, despite stopping 36 of 38, and pitched a 39-save shutout to close out the series.
Mike Smith! I know, I can’t believe it either.
7. Roberto Luongo vs. Dallas, 2007 first round
This was Luongo’s first season in the Western Conference and he really only had one, ahem, “bad” appearance in this seven-game series.
In Game 1 he gave up a whopping four goals. On 76 shots. In a win that went to a fourth overtime.
Even with those four goals against, Luongo only conceded 12 goals in the whole series, giving him a .950 save percentage. This when the league average was just .905, folks!
6. Felix Potvin vs. Chicago, 1994 first round
Okay, so Potvin was only a .940 goalie in this opening-round series, but what you have to keep in mind is that the league average save percentage in 1993-94 was .895.
So when you allow 10 goals on 166 shots — and these were 1994 shots, much harder to stop — you did a pretty good job.
But more importantly, Potvin was basically the only reason Toronto won the series. To a greater extent than Allen. Because while he allowed nine goals in his two losses (both on the road), he also won Games 2, 5, and 6 with 1-0 shutouts. Quite literally the only reason Toronto got out of the first round is that Potvin stopped all of those shots. They gave him almost nothing to work with, and he was like, “No worries guys.”
5. Ed Belfour vs. Ottawa, 2004 first round
With the Senators coming off their second straight 100-point season and just one point separating these two teams, this particular Battle of Ontario looked like a good one.
Then Belfour gave up 4 on 30 in a Game 1 loss. Dust yourself off, try again next time. Okay, how about a 31-save shutout? Pretty good, Ed! Tough to follow that. Oh, you posted a 37-save shutout in Game 3? Well that’s good.
Surely you were going to struggle the next time out though, right?
Aha! You did. Four goals against on 36 shots! I knew it!
Oh then you had another 21-save shutout? Fine. Okay, well, I bet you lost Game 6!
You did, I knew it! Oh, but it was in 2OT and you stopped 44 of 46? Fine. Fine! Well I bet you were only okay in Game 7. Ah well, you stopped 36 of 37.
Yeah but I mean Games 1 and 4. Terrible!
4. Jaroslav Halak vs. Washington, 2010 first round
You all know this one. And it was probably a weirder series than you remember. In Game 1, he was unbelievable, stopping 45 of 47. In Games 2 and 3 he was horrendous, giving up nine goals on 50 shots and getting pulled in the latter.
He was so bad, in fact, that he didn’t even play in Game 4. But then Carey Price was also bad (stopping 32 of 36) so they went back to Halak.
That worked. Halak gave up three goals on 134 shots(!) in Games 5-7 and sealed up the series, which really kickstarted the whole “Alex Ovechkin sucks and should be in jail or something” movement in earnest.
Imagine a goalie having two games so bad he doesn’t even start one of the games in the series, and still finishing with a .939 save percentage. That’s crazy.
3. J.S. Giguere vs. Detroit, 2003 first round
Remember how good the Red Wings were in the early 2000s? Here’s a quick rundown of just some of the guys on their roster for Game 1: Chelios. Datsyuk. Fedorov. Hull. Larionov. Lidstrom. Robitaille. Schneider. Shanahan. Yzerman. Zetterberg.
That mattered approximately zero to Giguere, who famously hulked out that entire season.
It’s not just that the Mighty Ducks swept the defending Cup champions that year, it’s that they did so almost entirely because Giguere went into some kind of fugue state. Six goals allowed on 171 shots in FOUR GAMES.
Giguere faced almost 43 shots a night and gave up six goals to a team of Hall of Famers. In a sweep. Man.
2. Patrick Lalime vs. Philadelphia, 2002 first round
This is just about the height of the original Dead Puck Era, so it’s not surprising to see a goalie really steal a show. Especially when his team won a Presidents’ Trophy to boot.
But Lalime — not exactly the best goalie in NHL history — was on an entirely different planet than the rest of the league. You want to see stingy? How’s this for stingy: Two goals against on 137 shots. That’s a .985 save percentage.
And yeah, he took a loss in Game 1. Know why? Because it was the only goal of the game. And it was in overtime.
Lalime allowed one goal in regulation in a five-game series. Come on!
(And here’s something else that’s nuts: He also had a shutout in Game 1 of the next series. At the time, that bumped him to .988! The less said about his next six games, in which he gave up 16 goals on 168 shots, the better.)
1. J.S. Giguere vs. Minnesota, 2003 Western Conference Final
Hold on, folks! This is the second Giguere series from the same damn playoffs! How is it possible to be better than he was against that Detroit team?
By allowing one goal in a sweep, that’s how. Now, to be fair, it was a Cinderella team out of Minnesota that wasn’t really good enough to be in the WCFs in the first place. But still, you can’t expect a .992 out of anyone. In my opinion.
Shutouts of 39 saves, 24 saves, and 35 saves, then he stopped 24 of 25 in the series finale. Anaheim won 2-1.
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