Friday, February 19, 2010
Stars progress report: Goaltending
By Richard Durrett
Our progress shifts to the goalies. BTW, you can check out the forward progress report and the one for the defenseman as well. Andrew's Stars Page and Defending Big D also weigh in.
Again, this is based on what they've done all season to this point. The trend the last six games is certainly up.
The recent subject of trade speculation, Marty Turco has suddenly re-emerged as a solid netminder.
The Stars are 23rd in the league in goals-against average and 20th in save percentage. That’s the bottom third of the league in both categories despite a very good two-week stretch for goalie Marty Turco.
Until the last six games, the Stars have had inconsistent play in net all season. Turco, who worked hard over the summer in what is a contract year for him, had a difficult start. The Stars tried to stay patient, but by January, backup Alex Auld was sharing playing time with Turco in an effort to get a struggling team going.
In Crawford’s system, the goalie must be solid and clean up mistakes. Those mistakes will likely more numerous than other teams because of the premium Crawford puts on controlling the puck and being aggressive in the offensive end. Frankly, the goalies haven’t done a good job of cleaning up those messes and too often have allowed goals that should have been stopped.
Turco, however, seems to have found something the last six games, in which he’s 4-1-1 with a 1.15 GAA and a .967 save percentage. Those are phenomenal numbers. His play has increased the team’s confidence and has them in better position to make a playoff run.
Andrew's Stars Page: This was expected to be a strength coming into the season and it's been a disappointment, except for the past couple weeks. Marty Turco's turned it around recently, but his early performance was erratic and was a key factor in the team's inconsistent play.
It's not all him though. Some of the play in front of him was spotty, but key saves were missing and there were too many deflating soft goals. Alex Auld has been OK and he's a solid NHL backup. Turco's recent play, though, has been nothing short of spectacular. It's a big reason the Stars are in the thick of the playoff race. Trend: Down
Defending Big D: Tough to grade this one, because of how hot Marty Turco finished before the break. But absolutely atrocious goaltending, and the inability of Alex Auld to take advantage and secure more playing time, has the overall goaltending situation in complete flux. Enter Kari Lehtonen. Trend: Down