Morning 3-on-3: Which team has the best 1-2 goalie tandem?


Raanta Antti Raanta, New York Rangers
Raanta -- acquired from Chicago in an offseason trade -- stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over San Jose in his Rangers debut.

HillerJonas Hiller, Calgary Flames
The Flames have lost their first three home games of the season, and Hiller (1-2-0) has posted a 3.64 goals-against average and .872 save percentage so far.

Which team has the best 1-2 goalie tandem?

Scott Burnside@ESPN_Burnside: With just one game on the schedule Monday night (how does that happen so early in the season, by the way?) it provides an opportunity to discuss which teams possess the kind of goaltending tandem that might lead to success not just in the regular season but beyond. Raanta, the former Blackhawks farmhand who may or may not have been cheering for Nashville in the first round against Chicago last spring, got his first win with the New York Rangers, shutting out the improving San Jose Sharks 4-0 on Monday. The loss was the first for Sharks goalie Martin Jones, who came over in a trade this offseason, and was the Sharks' second straight loss. Raanta was doing his best Cam Talbot impersonation with a 22-save performance, having taken over for Tablot as the backup to Henrik Lundqvist. Talbot parlayed a strong showing last season, while Lundqvist was injured, into a trade to Edmonton, while Raanta was supplanted as Corey Crawford's backup by Scott Darling and ended up in blue. Bottom line, in today's NHL no one gets anywhere without solid goaltending depth. So, who's got the best one-two punch in the NHL right now? Is it Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen in Dallas? Brian Elliott and Jake Allen in St. Louis? Or maybe it's Michal Neuvirth and Steve Mason in Philadelphia? Inquiring minds want to know.

Pierre LeBrun@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Scotty, having just one game allowed me to follow the Canadian election closely, and if you believe in change, we've got it here: Justin Trudeau with a stunning majority government for the Liberals. I was named after Justin's father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, so I feel old now. But to answer your question, I think it's hard to beat the 1-2 punch for the Detroit Red Wings, no? For my money, Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek are both No. 1 goalies. Their battle will be a key one to watch, but I also think it's a healthy one for the Red Wings. I would also argue Tampa Bay's 1-2 punch will be dynamic once Andrei Vasilevskiy comes back from injury to challenge Ben Bishop. Another worth monitoring is Frederik Andersen and Anton Khudobin in Anaheim, with the latter in net for the Ducks' first victory of the season. There's a real battle there for starts this season, and the best goalie in the organization, John Gibson, is in the AHL to start the season.

Craig Custance@CraigCustance: Pierre, how long until you guys welcome a little Justin into your family? I think it's time to add to the LeBrun household. Raanta looked good Monday night, but I'd like to see him a few more times before putting him in the conversation for best goalie tandem, though Lundqvist and just about anybody might make the list. I would tend to agree with Pierre that the duo of Howard and Mrazek have the potential to be two No. 1 goalies battling for playing time this year. I like the upside of those two better than the duo in Dallas, though Lehtonen and Niemi are competent and that could be all Dallas needs this season. And Scott threw them out there already, but I'll mention the dark-horse tandem in Philadelphia, too. Mason turned in a career-defining season with a .928 save percentage last season, and he's better than people want to give him credit for. Neuvirth is 2-0 with a .964 save percentage this season for the Flyers, including two straight shutouts. Adding him was one of many nice offseason moves by GM Ron Hextall. They might not be the best, but I like what the Flyers are doing there.

Joe McDonald@ESPNJoeMac: Craig, you beat me to the punch in regard to the Flyers. With Raanta's shutout, it appears he and Lundqvist could be one of the strongest tandems in the league. But Neuvirth's back-to-back shutouts should create some the internal competition, and that will be a good thing for coach Dave Hakstol. Mason missed a few games last week for a family matter, but he's back and the Flyers have back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's likely he will split duties with Neuvirth against the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, but it will be interesting to see how the coach proceeds if both continue to play well. That's a good problem for the Flyers to have, finally.


• The Sharks placed C Logan Couture on injured reserve prior to Monday's loss in New York. Couture suffered a fractured right fibula in practice last week and will miss four to six weeks while recovering.