Hockey is a heart-breaking sport when the postseason comes around. Many teams have been felled by a puck that bounced the wrong way or couldn’t overcome various types of adversity during the Stanley Cup playoffs. What can be most frustrating for fans is when their favorite team is knocked out by a strong run of goaltending.
Much like the challenges faced by jockeys in the preakness stakes 2022, hockey coaches suffer nightmares when thinking of what a strong goalie can do. Here’s a look at a few goalies who caught teams by surprise to propel their teams to greatness.
These Ducks were mighty
Jean-Sebastian Giguere’s run through the 2003 NHL playoffs was one of legends for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Giguere became just the fifth player in league history and is the last player to date to win the Conn Smythe Trophy despite playing for the team that lost in the Stanley Cup. During the 2003 playoffs, Giguere helped guide Anaheim to the finals by compiling a 15-6 record with a .945 save percentage and a 1.62 goals against average.
Giguere would later backstop the rechristened Ducks to the Stanley Cup championship in 2007. He was 13-4 in net during that postseason run with a .922 save percentage and 1.97 goals-against average.
Osgood saves best for end of career
Chris Osgood was an excellent goalie throughout his career in the NHL helping guide Detroit to Stanley Cups in 1996, 1998 and 2008. But it was his run through the 2008 NHL playoffs that really stands out. Osgood, then 36, would stop .930 percent of the shots he saw and finish with a .155 goals-against average.
Osgood’s performance helped Detroit delay Pittsburgh’s young core a chance to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings would eliminate the Penguins in six games to clinch their last championship to date.
Osgood was also strong on the run to the 1998 Stanley Cup. He went 16-6 and recorded a .918 save percentage. Over his career, Osgood saw a lot of postseason success, compiling a 74-49 record in starts with Detroit, St. Louis and the New York Islanders.
Quick pulls out some magic
The 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings weren’t spectacular in the regular season. The Kings snuck into the postseason by finishing in eighth place in the Western Conference. However, Los Angeles was able to rally behind the brilliance of goaltender Quick.
Quick went 16-4 during the postseason, including a 1.41 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage. While lightly regarded coming into the playoffs, Los Angeles didn’t struggle much to advance. The Kings only lost two games against Western Conference opponents in the playoffs, eliminating Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix on their way to a championship.
Things weren’t always easy for the 2010-11 Boston Bruins. Goaltender Tim Thomas, however, proved to be a player Boston could rally behind. He was sensational on the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup, compiling a 16-9 record, including a 1.98 goals against average and a .940 save percentage.
What made Boston’s postseason run so exciting was how the Bruins rallied. After falling behind 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, Boston won the series in seven games. During the finals against Vancouver, the Bruins dug their way out of a 2-0 hole to win the championship. In Game 7, Thomas would record a shutout in a 4-0 Boston win.
Eye of the Hurricane
Cam Ward played a big part in helping Carolina win its first Stanley Cup in 2006. Ward, who had struggled in March and April of that season going 3-3 with a 4.16 goals-against average, went 15-8 in the postseason. Ward finished with a .920 save percentage.
The Hurricanes playoff run wasn’t an easy one. Carolina had to go seven games to beat the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference finals and also went the distance to beat Edmonton in the Stanley Cup final.