Jimmy Howard has quietly been one of the best goalies in the last calendar year. In 26 games last season, he posted a .927 save percentage with a 2.10 GAA which was second overall in save percentage in the league and third overall in goals against average. Missing 3 months to an injury, these numbers could have changed, but outstanding goaltending was a result from him.
This season, he’s starting where he left off. At a .930 SV%, he’s fifth overall (and the first in the eastern conference) in the NHL and tenth overall (4th in the eastern conference) with a 2.34 GAA. He’s performing better then names like Holtby, Bishop, Smith, Rask, Murray, Lundqvist and Price. And with the mediocre, at best, defense in front of him – the talent he’s showing deserves more acknowledgment.
Petr Mrazek is also showing his redemption. After being exposed to Vegas, talks about a possible poor attitude, and the fact his contract is up next summer: a great season is a must. So far? Not Bad.
In 6 games, a 9.10 SV% (25th in the league, 9th in the east), and 2.98 GAA (14th in the east) follows. For a backup goalie in this league, those are respectable numbers.
Howard and Mrazek both rank in the top 15 in the eastern conference in goals against average and in the top 10 in save percentage. If both goaltenders keep performing to their prime and offense stays constant, you could be looking at the best 1-2 punch in hockey.
It still confuses me how Howard has been underrated for some time now. The NHL often lacks coverage of rebuilding/transitioning teams, which is understandable. But hopefully this duo and team will turn some heads through the season.