Wild Vs. Blues: Goalie Comparison


Mar 28, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) in the second period against the Los Angeles Kings at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Goaltending is always extremely important in hockey, particularly the NHL. A goalie standing on his head can steal a game. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, goalies are even more important. A goalie standing on his head in the playoffs can steal a series or more.

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Anyone who has been paying attention to the Minnesota Wild this season understands the importance of Devan Dubnyk. The Wild were a lost cause before Dubnyk came to town. The Wild were languishing in 12th place in the Western Conference and looked to be hopelessly out of the playoff chase at the time. An entrance into the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes seemed more likely than a postseason berth. Then Dubnyk got to town, the Wild’s penalty kill became impenetrable and now here we are.

So we already know what Dubnyk means to the Wild. He will have to continue his stellar play to bring the Stanley Cup to Minnesota. But what about our foes from St. Louis? What is the Blues goalie situation?

Well, it’s a little murkier in the opposition’s locker room. Blues’ coach Ken Hitchcock is playing his hand close to his vest, refusing to say who he will start in the nets Game One on Thursday. His options are veteran Brian Elliott and 24 year old Jake Allen. Elliott and Allen have virtually identical goals against average and save percentages on the season, so it would be no surprise to see both at some point in the series, while it would be a shock if Darcy Kuemper sees the ice at all.

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So, who will Hitchcock go with in Game One? In the above linked nhl.com article from Louie Korac, Hitchcock makes it sound like he may be leaning towards Elliott. It has to due with the Wild’s style of play. Here is a quote from Hitchcock from Korac’s article:

"“Because they’re a rush-attack team,” Hitchcock said of the Wild. “Their scoring chances on us this year, they’ve got a predominant amount of scoring chances off the rush.“It’s really interesting. We’ve got way more than they do on the cycle; they’ve got way more than we do on the rush. That’s been the big difference, and [Elliott] had a heck of a year defending the rush this year.”"

Despite struggling in his last two appearances against Minnesota, Elliott is 7-2-0 in his career against the Wild, albeit with a mediocre .895 save percentage.

Both of the Blues’ goalies have been very solid but not spectacular. Here is a comparison of Dubnyk’s full season numbers, including his time with Arizona, and the two Blues goalies:

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It should come as no surprise that Dubnyk fares better in both categories than both Blues goalies. He has been the second best goalie in the NHL, behind Carey Price, by almost every statistical measure. The Blues will have home ice advantage. If the Wild get the better of the goaltending battle, it would go a long way towards countering that advantage. Hopefully Dubnyk remains up to the task.

Next: Wild Vs. Blues: Regular Season Results