Last year, amidst the Capital's late-season playoff push, Christobel Huet was nothing short of spectacular, starting each of the last 13 games for the Caps and posting 11-2/1.63/.936.
There is no doubt that Huet was key to the Caps' Southeast Division Title. He replaced a struggling Olaf Kolzig and often bailed out his offensive-minded teammates with clutch saves down the stretch.
In the playoffs, Huet's numbers dropped significantly, to 3-4/2.93/.909, as a physical and talented Flyers team took the opening series. Were the Flyers simply a better team? As much as it kills me, perhaps they were. Were the teammates in front of him worn out from an exhausting playoff push? Maybe. But was Huet's drop in numbers attributable to shouldering too much of the load in net late in the season?
Each of the last three Stanley Cup Winners have entered the playoffs with a starting goaltender who was on the bench when they hoisted the trophy. In Carolina, Ward supplanted Gerber. In Anaheim, Giguere reclaimed his starting job from Bryzgalov. And last year, Dominick Hasek was riding the pine as Chris Osgood took over in net the last 18 playoff games.
In their teams' last 10 regular season games, Osgood started only 3, Giguere 5, and Ward 2.
Given these facts, and our recent memory of Huet, and the Caps all but assured of sitting 2nd or 3rd in the East when the playoffs begin, I will ask this question:
Is it better to have a hot or fresh goalie heading into the postseason? In other words: