Goalies Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators are both enjoying outstanding seasons. The two are considered the two best players between the pipes this season and in a tight competition for the Vezina Trophy.
But who has been the better option in 2014-2015? To be clear, both players have been exceptional. If your team is starting Rinne or Price, then your team is in a good position to win. But if pressed, the numbers and statistics show that while both have had great seasons, Price has been slightly better.
The first, and most obvious, stat to look at is save percentage. All other factors removed, how often do the two goalies stop pucks? Price leads the league with a 93.5 percent save percentage. Rinne isn’t far behind in second with 93.1 percent. Also consider that Price has faced 1,334 shots this season, fifth most in the league. Rinne has faced the 13th most at 1,194 shots against. So Price is saving a higher percentage of shots, while defending a higher volume of attempts. The edge goes to Price. The two, however, are still the only goalies in the NHL with a percentage above 93 percent this season.
The next statistic to look at is goals against average. Again, Price (1.93 GAA) leads the league,. and gain Rinne (1.97 GAA) is not far behind. Price has registered five shutouts to bring that average down, while Rinne has earned three. The two, again showing their dominance, are the only net-minders allowing less than two goals per game.
Rinne does edge out Price in one major statistic. Rinne leads the NHL with 33 wins while Price is second with 32. Wins are partially earned by goalies, but it’s not as clear an indicator of a netminder’s play as other stats, simply because there is no controlling other players on the ice. In other words, goalies play a large part in earning wins, but a good or bad team definitely affects the stat one way or the other.
Price has spent more time net than Rinne, which actually makes the Nashville goalie’s edge in wins more impressive. He’s earned one more win than Price in three less games. But it also shows that Price is perhaps more durable and valuable because of the minutes he plays. Price has played in 45 games this season, totaling 2,699 minutes played. Rinne has played in 42 games, totaling 2,532 minutes.
If a game goes to a shootout, both the Canadiens and Predators are set between the pipes. A shootout is a great way to see how good of a shot-stopper a goalie is in the purest sense. Rinne has stopped 18 shots in 21 shootout attempts (.857) this season, with a record of 4-2. Price has stopped nine of 10 shootout attempts (.900) with a record of 3-0. Both goalies are obviously very good, but again, Price probably edges out Rinne. Stopping 90 percent of shootout attempts while going 3-0 is pretty close to perfection.
All of these stats go to show that trying to choose between these two fantastic goalies is definitely splitting hairs, since both have been fantastic. But when it comes down to it, the stats indicate that Price has been slight better this season.