Catching fire on ice

A hot netminder can lead a team to the Stanley Cup. So who's this year's Cam Ward?

Originally Published: April 15, 2009
By Timo Seppa | Puck Prospectus
Nikolai KhabibulinAP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntoshCould a hot Khabibulin carry Chicago to a Stanley Cup?

Predicting the next great postseason goaltender seems about as easy as pleasing chef Gordon Ramsay, but making an educated guess is actually as easy as this simple recipe: three cups proven postseason acumen, one cup current prowess and a dash of fresh legs.

Taking a look at the past dozen Stanley Cup campaigns, there are some basic rules of thumb for success. On average, the team that wins a playoff series has two or three more regular-season wins than its opponent. The quality of the teams, not just the goalies, makes a difference. Yet as anyone who has followed the NHL knows, postseason goaltending is a crucial factor when seeking the Cup.