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Catching fire on ice

Could a hot Khabibulin carry Chicago to a Stanley Cup? AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh

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.