With the recent rise in his level of play, Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet is beginning to silence critics who claimed the French netminder was a one year wonder.
Huet's main claim in his climb to elite heights are his GAA and save percentage stats, which after an average start, are back to where they sat last season. Many pointed to the fact that Huet essentially played but half a season for their doubt in the validity of his final numbers.
While Huet's stats with the L.A. Kings were decent enough prior to his trade to Montreal, it must be noted that while the game has gained a more free flowing style, the stats have improved contrary to most goaltenders.
Huet is once again tops in save %, with a .932 ratio. Last season, he led the league in winning the Roger Crozier Saving Grace award, with .931 stats. His GAA is currently 2.20, on a par with 2005-06 when he ended with the exact same numbers.
After alternating two game stints with David Aebischer, Huet has seemingly wrestled the starters role that most thought he would be given come October. While winning his last four starts, he has relived Aebischer in back to back appearances that ended in loses.
The defensive stragegy of the Canadiens D consists of keeping shooters to the outside lanes while blocking whatever shots possible. This has allowed for good vision on the initial shots while neatly cleaning up rebounds. This system is imperitive on goalies stopping the first shot, while the D - men do the dirty work - Janni Niinimaa included.
Now that both the injured Francis Bouillon and Mathieu Dandenault have returned from injury, the Habs D will be even more stable than it has been in the first 20 games. Look for Huet's numbers, as well as those of Aebischer's, to get evem more attractive as games pass.
What Huet offers the Canadiens is a very relaxed style and demeanor. Conversely, the defenseman, who are known to give up a high quantity of shots during a game, can continue in this manner as Huet has regained form.
A flash in the pan? Doubtful!