Goalies in tandem better at handling back-to-back playoff game in NHL

St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen makes a save against the Dallas Stars in the second period of an NHL qualifying round game in Edmonton, Alberta on Sunday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Craig Berube remembers playing plenty of back-to-backs in the playoffs and actually likes them.

“I think it’s something the guys will look forward to,” the St. Louis Blues coach said. “There’s nothing wrong with it.”

Berube also wasn’t a goaltender. But in Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen, his Blues do have two goalies capable of starting in the playoffs.

While back-to-backs are no longer common in the NHL postseason, this year’s urgency means each first-round series has one set scheduled. Advantage goes to the teams that are able to rotate in a No. 1A goalie rather than tax a starter by playing him back to back.

“I think it’s a benefit for any team to have it,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour, who successfully split his qualifying round between Petr Mrazek and James Reimer to complete a sweep of the Rangers. “You can’t afford to falter too much, and so if one guy’s not sharp or you need to rest a guy, you can’t afford to give away games, so having both guys ready and capable I think is an asset for any team.”

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is seen during a break in action during the second period of a preseason game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 21, 2018. (AP file photo)

Some goalies are ready to shoulder the full load. Montreal’s Carey Price, Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, Washington’s Braden Holtby and Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom are undisputed starters who could play every game.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today