3 unheralded goalies making their mark in the playoffs
Just 10 days into the postseason, 22 different goaltenders have already appeared in at least two playoff games, thrusting a band of lesser-known netminders into the spotlight.
Here's three goalies who started less than 40 regular-season games, but have made a surprising impact thus far in April.
Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders
Greiss boasts an impressive .938 save percentage and a 2.09 goals-against average through five games, and has outdueled four-time All-Star Roberto Luongo in a pair of overtime games - including a 47-save performance in a double-OT thriller Friday.
With one more win in Brooklyn on Sunday, Greiss could backstop his club to its first playoff series win since 1993.
Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins
Late-season head injuries to both Murray and No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury put the Penguins' goaltending situation in turmoil ahead of their first-round series against the New York Rangers, but after Jeff Zatkoff kept the series level through two games, it's the rookie who's been nearly unbeatable since.
The 21-year-old Murray wasn't too busy in his playoff debut, stopping 16-of-17 shots for the Game 3 victory. In Game 4, however, Murray truly shone, blanking the Rangers with a 36-save shutout.
Though it still doesn't appear that Fleury is close to a return, Murray's current play could leave head coach Mike Sullivan with a very tough decision should the Penguins advance to the second round.
Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers
Like Greiss, Neuvirth boasted impressive stats in limited action (.924 save percentage in 32 games) this season, but after a late-season meniscus tear, it was unclear if his health would be compromised for the playoffs.
Instead, the 28-year-old has come back better than ever.
In just three starts (one regular season, two postseason) since suffering the injury on March 16, Neuvirth boasts a 1.00 goals-against average and an outstanding .968 save percentage, thanks in large part to his 44-save shutout Friday that kept the Flyers' playoff hopes alive.
|Apr 10||NYI||15||2||5-2 Win|
|Apr 20||WSH||31||1||2-1 Win|
|Apr 22||WSH||44||0||2-0 Win|
The ex-Washington Capitals netminder faces the tall task of carrying his team all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit - a rare feat accomplished by the Flyers just six years ago against the Boston Bruins.
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