It’s finally here hockey fans, the Stanley Cup Final, featuring one of the hottest goalie matchups in recent memory. Who’s got the edge, Braden Holtby or Marc-Andre Fleury?
SEASON SUMMARY: Braden Holtby
The Canadian goalie had his strangest season to date. He played in just 54 games this year, going 34-16-4, but struggled towards the end of the season. Coach Barry Trotz pulled Holtby in favor of Philipp Grubauer, who started the first two games of the playoffs. Holtby’s pedestrian .907 save percentage, ranked him 39th out of the top 50 goalies this season. When he returned with the Capitals team on the verge of going down 2-0, he was unstoppable. He helped the capitals then win 5 straight playoff games and has a 12-6 record these playoffs. His playoff save percentage is an impressive .924 with two shutouts in the playoffs.
SEASON SUMMARY: Marc-Andre Fleury
In his first year back on the starting block, this time for the Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury has been entirely impressive. He played in only 46 games after suffering two concussions. In that time he posted a 29-13-4 record with an outstanding .927 save percentage. Fleury’s hot play has continued in the playoffs. Through three rounds, Fleury has a 12-3 record and a .947 save percentage. Four of those wins were shutouts.
HEAD TO HEAD
These two all-star goalies have met once before in the playoffs. Fleury had the edge, playing for a powerhouse Penguins squad. Last season, when the Pens beat Holtby and the Caps, Matt Murray was between the pipes for the Penguins. The fair way to view this series is in Fleury’s win last year and comparing regular season match ups this year. Fleury shutout the Capitals 3-0 in the first meeting between these teams. Holtby was credited with the loss. In the second meeting, Fleury and the Golden Knights beat the Capitals by a score of 4-3. However, Grubauer was in net for Washington this time around.
WHO’S GOT THE EDGE? Fleury
There isn’t a whole lot to compare in recent memory, but Fleury has been historically good vs the Capitals, beating them twice in the playoffs. In each of those two seasons, Fleury and the Penguins went on to win the Cup. Holtby hasn’t fared quite as well against Fleury, however, this time around, there is no Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to contend with as well. However, in his only game against the Golden Knights, Grubauer was on the wrong end of a 3-0 decision. In the end, Fleury gives the Golden Knights a clear edge in the goaltending matchup.