Latest Posts

Binnington Injury Shows How Important Goalie Depth is in Playoffs

- Advertisement -

For most NHL teams, losing a starting goaltender to injury in the Stanley Cup playoffs is near-disaster.

- Advertisement -

Sure, there may have been stories of substitute goaltenders who rose to the top after a starter went down, but most teams find their championship aspirations shattered once they lose their man between the pipes.

- Advertisement -

However, there are exceptions to this general rule. And this season, it looks like the St. Louis Blues could be one of them. On Sunday, the Blues announced that No. 1 goaltender Jordan Binnington would miss the remainder of the second-round series against Colorado with a lower body injury in Game 3 on Saturday, and although Binnington was at the top of his game when he was injured, St. Louis can still push the Avalanche to the limit because Binnington’s understudy, Ville Husso, is capable of keeping them afloat.

The postseason — the first in Husso’s two-year NHL career — started reasonably well for the 27-year-old, starting and winning the Blues’ first game in the first round against Minnesota, beating the Wild 4-. 0 to set the tone of the series. However, Husso struggled in games two and three, averaging 4.51 goals over two games.

Then you can understand why St. Louis head coach Craig Berub turned on Binnington in Game 4. Binnington generally played very well in April – better than Husso, who helped his team at the beginning of the season when Binnington was not at his best. Berube gave him a chance to regain his place in the Blues’ hierarchy, and Binnington prospered. He won three games in a row, passing the Wild, and was arguably St. Louis’ best player in their first two games against Colorado. Let’s not pretend this doesn’t hurt the Blues’ chances of winning the series.

However, Husso showed earlier this year that he too can play well in St. Louis. He’s had his competitive jumps and swoons, but then again, this is the guy who’s entering the best playoff tournament in the world for the first time. It’s rare to see any rookie goalkeeper step into the game and consistently dominate from the start. Consistency issues are much more common. That’s the essence of the post-season battle – you do your best, the other side responds, and now it’s up to you to raise your game again.

That’s what Husso is facing at the moment. He entered Game 3 about six minutes into the first period and conceded four Avalanche goals on 23 shots before the end of the night, and will need to put in a much better record when the streak resumes on Monday in St. Louis. But he had a solid enough draw in the regular season to not fully believe his inability to beat the Avs three times in the next four games.

Husso also has the added motivation of entering free rein at the end of these playoffs. The capped Blues are under $10 million this summer, and Husso is likely off the St. Louis payroll by now. But with every victory he will endure from now on, Husso will see a significant increase in his salary next year.

The Blues didn’t say that Binnington would miss the rest of the year with a lower body injury, so if Husso rises to the challenge and takes St. Louis to the Western Conference Finals, maybe Binnington will play again. But for now, this is Husso’s team. And that’s why having depth on the web is so valuable. You never know when disaster will come, and having options for when it will happen gives you a chance to rise to the top.



Source: thehockeynews.com

- Advertisement -

Latest Posts

Don't Miss