Apr 25, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Anders Lindback (39) makes a save during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Goalie: Most Important Position?

While hockey is an ultimate team sport, the goalie is still by far the most important player on the ice. NHL goalies are the last line of defense for their teams, and they are the only players on the ice that have the ability to consistently win or lose a game. A great performance for a goalie can eliminate poor play by the rest of the team, and a bad performance will ruin a great offensive showing.

Apr 16, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) makes a save during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The importance of the goalie is on display during the NHL playoffs every year. If a team has a hot netminder entering the playoffs, then they are far more likely to make a deep run toward the Stanley Cup. The most recent example of a hot goalie carrying his team in the playoffs is the Los Angeles Kings in 2012.

The Kings were the lowest seed entering the playoffs in the Western Conference last year, and they were given virtually no chance to advance beyond their first opponent. Jonathan Quick got hot in the first round of the playoffs, and the Los Angeles Kings were able to ride his hot streak all the way to a Stanley Cup victory.

The Kings would go on to defeat the three best teams in the Western Conference on their way to beating the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup finals. The Kings had an overall record of 16-4 during their playoff run in 2012, and most of this can be attributed to a Conn Smythe Trophy award-winning performance by Jonathan Quick.

So as Tampa Bay Lightning fans gaze into the 2013-14 goal crease, they see Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback. Will either or both of them be the Lightning MVP as they begin the Cup run this year? Stay tuned…

Tags: Anders Lindback Ben Bishop Jonathan Quick NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

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