Tale of the tape
G - BUF (#30)
height: 6' 2"
In the case of the New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist and the Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller, the state of New York has the distinct honor of possessing two such individuals.
Both not only were hidden gems on their respective draft days, but have become two of the League's finest at their position. Lundqvist, 26, is 16-8-2 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .919 save percentage; Miller, 28, is 12-7-2 with a 2.56 GAA and .909 save percentage.
Since 2005-06, both goalies have jockeyed for position among the leaders in goaltender victories. Lundqvist is fourth with 120 wins in 221 games, while Miller is fifth with 118 wins in 209 games.
Lundqvist and Miller are the focus of this week's 'Who's Better' segment at NHL.com and we'd like to hear from you. If you were given the opportunity to build a franchise around either one of these goalies, who would you choose?
"I feel good and am learning how to (pace myself during the year)," Miller told NHL.com. "A lot of thought goes into playing a lot of games. As the goalie, you're always going to have pressure to help steer the team. For me it's just a matter of preparing the best way I can and learning a lot about how to play night in and night out. There are certain times when you hit the wall and eventually you're drained and you just have to move forward. You just can't use up all the energy in the reserve tank."
Lundqvist, a seventh-round pick (No. 205) of the Rangers in 2000, equally was busy in 2007-08, appearing in 72 games totaling 4,304 minutes. He finished 37-24-10 with a .912 save percentage and 1,663 saves. He led the NHL with 10 shutouts, marking the first time since Ed Giacomin had eight shutouts in 1970-71 that a Rangers goalie led the League in that category. He was tied for fourth in wins and ranked sixth in GAA (2.23). He finished as a Vezina Trophy finalist for the third straight season.
Lundqvist has played in 23 postseason contests in three seasons, going 11-12 with a 2.57 GAA, .907 save percentage and two shutouts. He's gotten the Rangers to the second round of the playoffs two straight seasons.
Miller has been involved in 34 playoff games in three full seasons in Buffalo. He is 20-14 with a 2.40 GAA, .915 save percentage and one shutout in the playoffs. He backstopped the Sabres' runs to consecutive Eastern Conference Finals in 2006 and '07.
Both goalies were especially big during the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Lundqvist finished 6-4 with a 2.07 GAA and .924 save percentage in 10 appearances, while Miller was 9-7 with a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage in 16 games.
Both have solid international resumes. Lundqvist led the Swedish national team to their second Olympic gold medal at the 2006 Winter Games, posting a 5-1 record with a 2.33 GAA and .907 save percentage. In 2004, he helped Sweden capture a silver medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Championships in the Czech Republic, finishing 6-3-0 with a 2.35 GAA and .894 save percentage in nine games.
Miller has represented the United States on several occasions. In four games for Team USA at the 2003 World Championships, he recorded victories over Slovenia and Belarus. At the 2002 World Championships, he led all goalies with a .949 save percentage and was second with a 1.76 GAA. Miller also finished 73-18-12 in three seasons at Michigan State, and posted an NCAA-record 26 shutouts.
There are the arguments; now you make the call. Will it be Lundqvist or Miller? Send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com.