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Analysis: Breaking down how goaltenders were used during 1995 season relates to Pens plans for Fleury

devils 1994-1995 season to be barometer of how Bylsma intends to use Fleury, Vokoun

The Penguins plan for the weekend is Marc Andre Fleury starting Saturday vs Philadelphia and Tomas Vokoun starting Sunday night vs New York. After that it’s believed the Penguins have Vokoun planned to start around 18-20 games with Fleury projected to start 28-30 games, give or take a few games either way. As always this is subject to change as the season progresses.
The question is whether this would be a big enough workload for Fleury?
The Penguins are buying the notion that more rest for Fleury in the regular season will benefit him in the playoffs, although for a goaltender in his prime, there’s no proof that keeping his workload down in the regular season leads to playoff success. The Kings sure ran Jonathan Quick hard last year in the regular season when he saw action in 69 games.
The Penguins, most notably Bylsma have studied the 1994-1995 season extensively and Bylsma’s research has come up with teams who were successful that season had backup goaltenders starting almost 20 games.
“Goaltenders was the biggest one,” Bylsma said about the 1995 shortened season when appearing on the NHLnetwork Monday morning. “Use of the goaltending and how often other goaltenders played. Success of teams that made playoffs, huge portions of them had two of their goaltenders who played up to 20 games. A lot of teams that had success and got into playoffs, had backup goalies who played 20 hockey games.”
” Vokoun is going to play a higher percentage of games in this 48 game season than he would in a 82 game season,” Bylsma said. “Based on frequency of games and rest for goaltenders and that’s a little of what we {learned} from 48 games season in 1994-1995.”
Is that true?
Yes, to an extent but there was also a lot of success for teams that played goaltenders 38 games or more.
Of the 12 goaltenders who appeared in 38 games or more in the 1994-1995 shortened season, seven of them made the playoffs with their respective teams: Trevor Kidd (43 games), Calgary Flames, Ed Belfour (42 Games), Chicago Blackhawks, Dominik Hasek (41 Games), Buffalo Sabres, Kirk McLean (41 Games), Vancouver Canucks, Martin Brodeur (40 games), New Jersey Devils, Ken Wregget (38 Games) Pittsburgh Penguins, Arturs Irbe (38 Games), San Jose Sharks.
Among the final four teams that season in the conference finals, New Jersey and Philadelphia in the East and Detroit and Chicago in the West, it was a wash.
*Marty Brodeur led the Devils to a Stanley Cup title and appeared in 40 games during the regular season, going 19-11-6 with a 2.44 GAA and .902 save percentage. In the post-season the heavy workload in the shortened regular season made him stronger as he went 16-4 with a 1.67 GAA and .926 save percentage.
*The Red Wings were the best team in the league with 70 points and lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Devils. Mike Vernon appeared in 30 games during the regular season going 19-6-4 with a 2.52 GAA and .893 save percentage, while Chris Osgood appeared in 19 games, going 14-5-0. In the post-season, Vernon’s goals against average improved to 2.31 and he posted a .890 save percentage.
*The Flyers were the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with 60 points and Ron Hextall started 31 games in the regular season for Philadelphia, going 17-9-1 with a 2.89 GAA and .890 save percentage. Backup Dominic Roussel started 19 games. Hextall had improved post-season numbers, posting a 2.81 GAA and .904 save percentage in 15 games.
*The Blackhawks were No. 4 seed in the Western Conference with 53 points and relied heavily on Ed Belfour who appeared in 42 games for the Blackhawks in the regular season, going 22-15-5 with a 2.28 GAA and .906 save percentage. Belfour like Brodeur had better post-season numbers with a 2.19 GAA and .923 save percentage in 16 starts.
*Looking at the Penguins that season who had the second most points in the East with 61, Ken Wregget appeared in 38 games going 25-9-4 with a 3.21 GAA and .903 save percentage. In the playoffs Wregget posted very similar numbers with a 3.00 save percentage and .905 goals against average in 11 games.
HOW GOALTENDERS FOR EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS WERE USED
*These numbers are based on games appeared, not games started for top-2 goaltenders of each playoff team from 1994-1995*
1. Quebec Nordiques 65 Points, lost in first round
Stephane Fiset 32 games – Jocelyn Thibault 18 games
2. Philadelphia Flyers, 60 pts, lost in Eastern Conference Finals
Ron Hextall 31 games – Dominic Rousell 19 games
3. Pittsburgh Penguins 61 points, lost in second round of playoffs
Ken Wregget 38 games – Wendell Young 10 games
4. Boston Bruins 57 points, lost in first round
Blaine Lacher 35 games – Vincent Riendeau 11 Games
5. New Jersey Devils 52 points, Won Stanley Cup
Martin Brodeur 40 games – Chris Terreri 15 Games
6. Washington Capitals 52 Points, lost in first round
Jim Carey 28 Games – Olaf Kölzig 14 Games
7. Buffalo Sabres 51 Points, lost in first round
Dominik Hasek 41 Games – Robb Stauber 6 Games
8. New York Rangers 47 points, lost in second round
Mike Richter 35 Games – Glenn Healy 17 Games

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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