A week before the NHL resumed play, we predicted who the starting goalies would be for each series. So how did our goalie Play-In predictions go?
Unpredictable Play-In Predictions
Only a fool would try predicting pretty much anything about this year. And there’s no way they should put those play-in predictions on the internet for all to see. Excuse me, just going to dampen the bells on our hat before continuing.
West Guesses, Best Guesses
Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets
Who played: Cam Talbot vs Hellebuyck
One out of two is still a pass, right? Okay, maybe not when the one you get right is the easiest pick of the playoffs. As it is, Talbot did reasonably well but faced only 18 Winnipeg Jets shots on the night. We thought the Calgary Flames would go with the signed younger guy over the UFA veteran, but it’s tough to criticize success.
Vancouver Canucks vs Minnesota Wild
Who Played: Markstrom vs Stalock
Woo! Two-for-two! One was a gimmie, but the other was a genuine coin-flip, so we’re happy to take credit here. Markstrom lost, but only gave up two power-play goals to the Minnesota Wild on 30 shots. Stalock did well enough to blank the Vancouver Canucks, and continues to work well with coach Dean Evason‘s system.
Nashville Predators vs Arizona Coyotes
Who Played: Saros vs Kuemper
Called it! Pekka Rinne has officially passed the torch with the Nashville Predators‘ choice to go with Saros. With their loss to the Arizona Coyotes, it could still swing back. But if it does, it will only be for the playoffs. Rinne is very likely an expensive backup next season. Arizona is likely going to move one of their pair and with the Game One decision that’s Antti Raanta.
Edmonton Oilers vs Chicago Blackhawks
Who Played: Mike Smith vs Crawford
Smith was traded for because of his experience, so his start shouldn’t be a huge surprise. But we were hugely surprised by the Edmonton Oilers‘ choice, calling this “the most predictable of the goalie match-ups.” As were the Chicago Blackhawks, who happily chased Smith from the net with five goals on just 23 shots. Edmonton reversed course the next game, to the surprise of no one.
East Guesses, Better Guesses?
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Who Played: Andersen vs Korpisalo
Andersen gave up a single goal on 34 shots and still came away with the loss. Some games just go like that – but shouldn’t have for the high-powered Toronto Maple Leafs. Korpisalo had a lot of help from the rest of the Columbus Blue Jackets but was still full value for the win. Expect the Leafs to come out angry next game, but no one is changing their goaltenders.
New York Islanders vs Florida Panthers
Who Played: Varlamov vs Bobrovsky
We’re on a roll! Another coin-flip for the New York Islanders and they went with the goalie signed for another three years. From the outside, it sounds odd that the Florida Panthers might not go with their $10 million dollar man, but Bobrovsky had an atrocious year and was handily outplayed by rookie Chris Driedger. Bobrovsky acquitted himself well in his first test, so he’s not getting moved out.
Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers
And the roll goes splat. Though to be fair to ourselves, Shesterkin would have started for the New York Rangers but was listed as “unfit to play” before the match. King Henrik let the first shot past but was solid the rest of the way. He’s likely got the ball now, but they won’t hesitate to change. As for the Carolina Hurricanes, they went with Mrazek based on last year’s playoff memories, which… okay, fair.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens
Who Player: Matt Murray vs Price
Carey Price being Carey Price for the Montreal Canadiens isn’t a surprise. The Toronto Bubble will inflate and blow into the sky before he gets switched out. Murray starting for the Pittsburgh Penguins is… okay, sure. Jarry has no playoff experience while Murray is wearing two rings, and that’s tough to argue with.
We went 11-for-16 on our goalie play-in predictions. Oof. That’s a C+ at best. Still, compared to the year so far? Hockey’s back, and we’re watching it. That’s a 100% score as far as we’re concerned.
Now, as for the playoffs themselves…