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Don't Worry, It's the Back-up Goaltender


stetty2

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This year has been a fairly sensational one for back-up goalies around the league. With Roberto Luongo down for the next 7-10 days with an apparent groin injury, Eddie Lack is stepping into his first NHL week as a starter.

Lack is 6-2-1 this year, with a 1.93 GAA and a save % of 9.28. Slightly better than Luongo's 2.24 GAA and .920 save %.

Look at the following back-ups that have played more than expected this season through injury or stellar play.

1. Martin Jones - He's the 6'4" goalie for the L.A. Kings who's taken over for the injured Jonathan Quick, suffering from a lower body injury since November 12th. Jones has gone 8-1 in that stretch carrying a solid 1.31 GAA and a .953 save %. He holds the Kings record with 8 wins in his first 8 starts.

What's even more impressive is that he was taking over from a different hot back-up in Ben Scrivens who was 7-3-4 with a 1.66 GAA and a .944 save %.

2. Josh Harding - After Nicklas Backstrom went down in Minnesota, Harding took over and has gone 18-5-3. He currently holds a 1.51 GAA and .930 save % as he sits out acquainting himself to a change in his medication. Harding suffers from MS.

3. Cam Talbot - He's gone 8-3-0 so far this season with the New York Rangers. Alain Vigneault is stuck in a small goaltending issue. Starter Henrik Lundqvist has struggled going 10-15-2 so far this year with a GAA of 2.77 and a 9.05 save %. Talbot's numbers are much better at 1.72 GAA and a 9.36 save %.

4. Cory Schneider - You knew this was coming right? Cory suffers the same fate no matter where he goes. He has to fight for the top goaltending position on his team, even after putting up stellar numbers with the Canucks. Cory started out a bit rough this season backing up Martin Brodeur, but has started to float back to the type of play he had last season with the Canucks. He currently sits with a record of 4-8-5, a GAA of 2.20 and a save % of .910. All this on a weak defensive team. Brodeur has a 2.31 GAA and a save % of .906.

5. Ilya Bryzgalov - Is he the back-up or the starter? Dubnyk has played half the games since the outspoken Russian joined the team. Neither have had much success.

We could almost add the other Albertan goaltending duel, with Karri Ramo taking over the #1 job from season starter Joey MacDonald.

And finally, if you want to count the battle between James Riemer and Jonathan Bernier you can, but the Leafs have only 1 regulation win in their last 19 games. They have 5 OT or Shootout wins in those 19. Not good enough to be in the top 5.

Can Eddie Lack make the list? Your thoughts welcome below.

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Lack gives us a great chance to win every game. He will be fine. I find the team plays better in front of him and is much tighter defensive

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Lack will not look good if our first two lines continue to not show up. The Sedins, in particular, have been pathetic since they signed their big new contracts. The Kesler line, like the D other than Hamhuis, looked like they had far too much fun on New years. The last two lines looked like they wanted their jobs. The Sedins looked like they were searching around for deck-chairs at the beach, and that their retirement had already started. This useless peripheral play of theirs on the PP has to stop - if this team is going to win.

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