Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Odds Against the Pens

The Pittsburgh Penguins are attempting to replicate the feat of the 1971 Montreal Canadiens. TSN.ca tells us that in the history of best of seven Stanley Cup Finals, teams leading 3 games to 2 who own game seven at home have won 19 of 20 series, (This is the situation that Detroit is in). The only team to come back to win games 6 and 7 in this situation was the ’71 Habs led by a fresh-out of college, Ken Dryden.

Montreal would win 4-2 on home ice in game 6 and prevail at Chicago Stadium 3-2 in game 7.
This of course would be Dryden’s coming out party, winning the Conn Smythe prior to the Calder Trophy the following year. In truth, Dryden’s numbers that playoff weren’t all that great with a record of 12-8, zero shutouts and a goals against average of 3.00. His opposing goalie in the Final, Tony Esposito went 11-7, 2 shutouts with a GAA of 2.19. In fact 1971 could be called Dryden’s worst playoff of his career. Amongst his six Cup winning years, 1971 was the highest GAA, most losses and least shutouts.

Along the 1971 playoff trail there were games in which he surrendered 5 goals (twice to Boston in round one, once to Minnesota in round 2 and once to Chicago), 6 goals (once to Minny) and 7 goals (once to Boston). Some would even go as far as saying he did not deserve the Conn Smythe that year and perhaps Frank Mahovlich should have won on the strength of 14 goals and 27 points in the 20 games.

Perhaps Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pens is on his way to repeating Dryden’s efforts as his numbers are quite similar with 8 losses, zero shutouts and a rather pedestrian GAA of 2.76.

1 comment:

Geoff_9 said...

love that dryden card

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