From the regular season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a completely different animal. We know who has done well and who hasn’t done well in these last 56 games but the script could be flipped easily.
To have the ability to predict the playoffs and be able to tell what happens is impossible, but here’s some things to look out for.
In Carolina, the Hurricanes are a good problem to have. Two excellent goaltenders who have impressive stats. However one is more experienced in net but the other is young and red hot but without any playoff experience. Whether it’s Alex Nedeljkovic or Petr Mrazek that starts game one, don’t expect the Hurricanes to go with just one goalie for their entire payoffs.
In Nashville, Juuse Saros will have his hands full against Carolina. However, he is capable of stealing a couple games. This could be an excellent goalie battle. If things don’t go well, Pekka Rinne might go in but it isn’t likely.
The Florida Panthers also have some options. Chris Dreidger has surprised everyone with his play this season. Sergei Bobrovsky is also doing much better as of late, we could likely see him go in.
For the Pittsburgh Penguins, both Tristan Jarry and Casey Desmith are considered day-to-day and it remains unclear if either of them will be available for game 1 of the playoffs. Maime Lagace filled in for the Penguins final game of the regular season. He got off to a great start with a 1-0 shutout in his NHL debut. If the situation demands it, he is available.
In Boston, we will see Tuukka Rask start game 1 yet again. Rookie, Jeremy Swayman, will swoop in and be the number 2 instead of Jaroslav Halak.
The Vegas Golden Knights also have two excellent goalies. Last year, Robin Lehner played almost their entire playoff run. They could go for the 29 year old, or they can go for the goalie who hasn’t lost a game in over a month. Either way, this is another scenario similar to Carolina where we will likely see them use both goalies.