So far in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it seems there has been plenty of goalie drama. The playoffs always seem to have their share of drama, but thus far it has been at the goalie position mostly.
It All Started With Third String Goalie Louie Domingue
He was called upon to come in for starter Casey DeSmith who came up lame in the middle of the second overtime. “I saw him go to the bend and I wasn’t sure why they blew the whistle,” Domingue said of DeSmith, who left with what the Penguins called a lower-body injury. “I know both of the referees that were there, Jonny Murray and Frederick L’Ecuyer, both French guys. I honestly thought they were joking with me – they were saying I had to go in. After that, I just go out and played. It’s crazy, but I guess that’s my life. It’s hockey.”
“Some spicy pork and broccoli.”Louis Domingue was FEASTIN’ before entering the game. 😋 pic.twitter.com/1CAw4IXIoc — Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 4, 2022
That wasn’t the end of the goalie drama. The entire reason the game went into overtime was due to a controversial (aren’t they all?) goalie interference call. The New York Rangers‘ Filip Chytil thought he got the go-ahead tally with just 3:10 left in the final stanza. The Penguins challenged the play and it was ruled that Kaapo Kakko interfered with DeSmith when he drove towards the net and bumped DeSmith. No goal.
Domingue Wasn’t So Lucky In Game 2
The New York Rangers got back at Domingue in Game 2, scoring five times against the goalie who only appeared in two games during the regular season. He was forced to make 35 saves but wound up with a discouraging 5.26 goals-against average with a dismal .875 save percentage. Hero one night, but not this night.
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With Juuse Saros Out, Nashville Really Missed Him
The Nashville Predators announced that Saros was going to miss the first two games of the playoffs due to a lower-body injury. In the first game handled easily by the Colorado Avalanche, he was sorely missed. The Avs chased backup David Rittich with 4:56 remaining in the first period after allowing five goals.
Connor Ingram came in and allowed just two goals in 44:56 minutes of play. Ingram had only participated in three games during the regular 2021-22 season. He only had a .879 save percentage and a 3.71 goals-against average. It was enough for Ingram to get the start in Game 2 on Thursday.
Mike Smith’s Antics
Mike Smith has always been a goalie who can help his team out by using his stick-handling skills. But, there are times when he gets carried away and it hurts his team. This giveaway cost the Edmonton Oilers the game and Smith admitted his gaffe. “I was just trying to make something happen. Obviously trying to do too much there. In a tight game like that, you can’t afford to make mistakes like that. It ended up costing us the game. Obviously disappointed but it’s one game and we move on.”
Antti Raanta, Injured Again
Raanta has to be one of the unluckiest players of all time. He has been injured quite a bit over his NHL career. Raanta even got hurt on his way to a game while with the Arizona Coyotes when he got involved in a car accident. He defines the phrase, “if it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.”
In the first Carolina Hurricanes game, he was brilliant. He stopped 35 of 36 shots and had a 1.02 goals-against-average, and a .972 save percentage. Doesn’t get much better than that. Then, in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins, David Pastrnak collided with Raanta causing the goalie’s mouth to bleed. He only played 7:47 and had to be replaced by Pyotr Kochetkov, who had only appeared in three games all season.
Kochetkov gathered 30 saves, with a .938 save percentage and a 2.30 GAA. So, again a backup of the backup performed over the top to lead his team to a win. And, not just any win, but a 2-0 series lead for the Hurricanes.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Have Been Exciting
With all the goalie drama thus far, what else can we expect going forward in the 2022 NHL playoffs? I don’t know about you, but I’m not missing a game!
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