Goaltending is weird and Filip Gustavsson knows it. The Minnesota Wild netminder has been through the ups and downs of what most netminders face, but he is looking for one specific thing.
“Consistency,” Gustavsson said after Wednesday’s win over the Detroit Red Wings. “Before I could have really good games, and then I could have really bad games. Just find something in between where you can be doing the same thing every day. These guys have played really good lately, too, with not giving up so many chances, so that helps a lot.”
The 24-year-old goalie has won five consecutive games, saving 94.8 percent of the shots he has faced and allowing just seven goals. That is some monstrous numbers coming from a netminder that is just trying to find his place in the NHL and what his future looks like. Now, in his first season as a member of the Wild, he has earned a .921 save percentage and a 2.33 goals against average.
If he is able to attain consistency at that level, he will end up being a starter in this league for the next decade. But that might just be a tad realistic and the focus is on just how to maybe get there or even just stay relatively close to this level.
For Gustavsson, the goal is to not be noticed.
“You don’t always have to be flashy and do those cool saves,” he said. “It’s fun to do them sometimes, but if you do the same boring saves all the time, then most pucks are going to hit you.
“Boring is good for goalies.”
That’s damn right. If a casual or not-so-casual viewer begins to really notice how the goalie is playing, the player is either having a terrible game or is doing some unsustainable Tim Thomas kind of stuff in the crease. Usually, if you don’t even know who is in between the pipes for your team a period or two into the game, they are most likely are winning that game.
And that is all the Wild need right now. After multiple years of trying to see if Kaapo Kahkonen can be the answer and then signing Cam Talbot to at least do something consistent in net, having two very good goaltenders in Gustavsson and Marc-Andre Fleury is like finally being able to breathe again after having the stuffiest of noses. Our sinuses are clear and we do not need to worry about who Dean Evason decides to be the starter.
We love our boring Swedish goaltender.