Almost trivial to observe, but I was right again

Back on April 24th, Martin Gerber let in 3 goals on 13 shots in the first period of Game 2 in the Carolina-Montreal series. He had let in 6 goals in 23 shots on the previous game, and so former Red Deer Rebel Cam Ward took to the netminding position. Ward didn't stand on his head, but played solid and gave the team a boost as Carolina came back to score 4 uninterrupted goals. Les Habitants peppered Ward with shots after that, scoring the tying goal on a triple rebound. A second goal past Ward was to come, and then a third, but by that time it was the second overtime.

As the game ended, I turned to the people from work that were watching the game and declared:

We've just seen Montreal win its last game.
And I was right (go figure). Last night Cory Stillman slipped a garbage goal past Cristobel Huet in the second overtime of Game 6, causing Carolina to win their 4th consecutive game and win the series 4-2.

The difference? Exactly what I said when I had to defend my statement in blue above: Cam Ward. The Sherwood Park native, who had a 0.882 save percentage in 28 games over the regular season with a 3.68 GAA, turned on the energy in the playoffs. Excepting the game he came in halfway through (where he still had 2.67GAA and 0.870SV%), Cam Ward in the playoffs has had a 0.955 save percentage and a 1.23 goals against average, and a 4-0 record. Compare this with 2004 playoff hero Miikka Kiprusoff: the Flames superstar 'tender had a 1.85GAA with a 0.928SV%, which is an incredible stat over a playoff run. Ward still has a long way to go, but the hard hitting Albertan may surprise a lot of people.

So how about other 2005/2006 goalies? How does Ward rate in the "new NHL"?

Ward, Hurricanes: 1.54 GAA, 0.940 SV%
Roloson, Oilers: 2.49 GAA, 0.929 SV%
Esche, Flyers: 4.20 GAA, 0.875 SV%
Miller, Sabres: 2.02 GAA, 0.918 SV%
Kiprusoff, Flames: 2.27 GAA, 0.918 SV%
Emery, Senators: 2.62 GAA, 0.924 SV%
Grahame, Lightning: 4.79 GAA, 0.847 SV%
Legace, Red Wings: 2.65 GAA, 0.884 SV%
Theodore, Avalanche: 2.64 GAA, 0.910 SV%
Turco, Lone Stars: 3.39 GAA, 0.868 SV%
Toskala, Sharks: 2.01 GAA, 0.927 SV%
Mason, Predators: 3.45 GAA, 0.901 SV%
Brodeur, Devils: 1.00 GAA, 0.965 SV%
Lundqvist, Rangers: 4.41 GAA, 0.835 SV%
Huet, Canadiens: 2.23 GAA, 0.929 SV%
Bryzgalov, Mighty Ducks: 1.08 GAA, 0.958 SV%
Giguere, Mighty Ducks: 3.88 GAA, 0.845 SV%
Gerber, Hurricanes: 7.20 GAA, 0.735 SV%

Not bad Cam, not bad...

Update, May 4 2006, 1:33pm: I almost forgot my favourite Cam Ward bit: you can't go against an Alberta native, or a Red Deer Rebel. But more imporantly, never bet against a guy who's name sounds like an engine part.

Hey, what's wrong with your car? Oh, the Cam Ward is shot, I need a new one. Oh, there's a little rattling in the Cam Ward. I can't find a new Cam Ward for this Charger if my life depended on it.