No Red Lights: Hockey: The Low Down: [5/1] NHL Playoff Goalie Match Ups - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

The Low Down: [5/1] NHL Playoff Goalie Match Ups

Happy May everyone and happy semi-final round of playoffs! While the first round is fun with all the uncertainty of who will be the next playoff hero - the second round is where their mystic and legend is born. Like my last post, we could spin these two games into a figurative representation of the Times. It's Youth vs. Vets; Butterfly Vs. Reaction; and the Original 6 teams vs. the expansion franchises... even North vs. South! It will be interesting to see the difference in the fans between the two games. I would expect Detroit and Boston to have ferocious fans that really get into the game as those are more traditional hockey towns.

Here's a look at the goalie match ups:
Hiller (ANA) vs. Osgood (DET) [7pm]
Despite all the talk of Detroit being such a powerhouse, Anaheim is not slouch. They have proven that they are not scared of the "big boys," and Hiller looks stellar. Spectacular even. His numbers were extremely good in the first round, which is why Anaheim had such an easy time with San Jose. But Detroit has the firepower to break this playoff-rookie. I am interested to see how Hiller does in this round. During the season, he would have a few slumps where he would give up 2-4 goals in a set of games. In the post-season, this can kill a team.

Then again, there's Osgood. He has been playing well this post-season, but because of his regular season play, I'm not sure I would designate him as back to his old self. He does have a history of playing well in the Playoffs so I would not be surprised if his play goes either way. But at the end of the day, Detroit has the firepower to bail Osgood out, no matter what the situation.

Ward (CAR) vs. Thomas (BOS) [7:30pm]
I think this will be a good series. Top to bottom, two very disciplined teams. Surprisingly, it is Carolina that has the playoff experience as Boston has not been to the second round since 1999; that's crazy. Funny enough, Boston beat Carolina to get to the second round that year. I love how destiny has a sense of humor.

Despite the lack of experience for the majority of the Boston squad, Thomas has definitely played his fair share of important games. His years of playing gives him enough experience to play like a true Vet. I do not expect him to waste this opportunity to jitters. The only question mark is the long lay-over. It is much harder to gain your playing form and focus after taking over a week off. I expect Boston to be flat, but Thomas to be up to the challenge.

As for Ward, I kind of expected him to be more aggressive in the last round. He was good, but not great. He looked as if he was leaning backwards or away from the puck for some of the goals that I saw. But considering his performance overall in the series, there are bound to be a few glitches. As long as he stays healthy and focuses, this should be a very good, very close series.

Here's ESPN's take on the series:

"2. Goalie duel: Vezina Trophy finalist Tim Thomas carried his regular-season prowess into the first-round sweep over the Habs, allowing only six goals and sporting a .946 save percentage. But don't underestimate Cam Ward. He went toe-to-toe with Martin Brodeur in the first round and came out on top -- his 2.11 goals-against average and .938 save percentage jumping off the page. And he's got something Thomas certainly does not -- a Cup ring and a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Here's the rub with Ward: He got hammered by the Bruins this season, going 0-4-0 with a 3.90 goals-against average and .871 save percentage. Yikes. At the other end, Thomas went 3-0-0 against the Hurricanes this season with a 1.33 GAA and .957 save percentage." (