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Is Khabby that much better than Huet?

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We're halfway through the season now - and one of the biggest surprises is that we still have two number one goalies on our team, much to our salary caps' dismay.

There's been talk about both of them in the comments recently and some of you have pointed out something weird that's going on.  Check out their stats:


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Nikolai Khabibulin 22 1274 13 3 4 0 49 2.31 666 617 .926 1


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Cristobal Huet 20 1152 10 7 3 2 47 2.45 549 502 .914 2


The opinion shared by many, including me most times, is that Khabby has been the star goalie, while Huet's has been pretty rough.  Khabby's record of 13-3-4 looks to support that when you compare it to Huet's 10-7-3.  The Hawks win more, and more importantly lose less, when Khabby's between the pipes.

But looking at their SV% and GAA shows something a bit different.  Khabby's stats are better, but not by much.  Khabby is 8th in the NHL in SV% but Huet is only .012 worse (he's 18th overall).  Their GAA is close too with Khabby once again 8th overall in the NHL and Huet closer this time at 14th.

So why the difference in records?  Someone asked if it might be that the Hawks for some reason aren't scoring when Huet is on the ice, but that's not quite it either.. These are the goals scored for the Hawks when each goalie is on the ice:

Goals against

5 on 5

5 on 4

4 on 5

N. Khabibulin

48

18

4

C. Huet

41

18

1

Compare that with Goals Against:

Goals against

5 on 5

5 on 4

4 on 5

N. Khabibulin

34

1

14

C. Huet

33

1

13

The Hawks have 7 more even strength goals when Khabby's in the net, but that's mostly because Khabby has 121 more minutes of ice time.  The only other big difference is that the Hawks have 4 times as many short-handed goals when Khabby's playing.

Khabby's clearly played the better game so far but it really hasn't been by much.  Both have had 5 games of giving up 4 or more goals but only Huet's given up 6.. and he's done it twice (Sharks and Red Wings).

Huet struggled in mid-november dropping 4 straight games - but even those you have to cut him some slack on.  One was the 6-5 game at home against the sharks.  4 of those goals came on the power play and one of them came from a total boner play by Sopel.  His next loss came against the Sharks as well when Khabby was hurt - the final goal being on a great play in overtime. 

The next loss against the Ducks a hard one - Huet only let in one goal and the Hawks failed to score any.  Then in the final game of the Cali trip all the Hawks crapped the bed and they lost 5-2 (one empty net goal). 

His other notable losses are the opener against the Rangers (the Hawks are a much better team now than they were then), 4 against the Wings in early December and the 6 goals in the Winter Classic (some more his fault than others).

Here's something else to consider though:

On the Power Play

Shots for, per 60

Shots against, per 60

N. Khabibulin

44.9

8.2

C. Huet

34.6

10.9

The Hawks are averaging more shots while they're on the Power Play when Khabby is on the ice than they are when it's Huet's turn.  They're also averaging more shots against Huet than Khabby.  Is Huet playing stronger teams with better special teams?  Is it dumb luck? 

Similar stats for even strength or man advantage show once again that the two goalies are partically the same.  Only with Huet averaging slightly fewer shots per 60 even strengthed.

So Huet may have looked rocky to start, 3-5-2 in the first 10, but in his next 10 he's found his rythym and has gone 7-2-1.  Huet benefitted a lot from the Hawks december hot streak (5 of the 9 wins) and if he proved anything last year, it's that he can ride a hot team as good as anyone.  Once being traded to the Caps at the deadline last year, Huet played in 13 games and was an outstanding 11-2 in those games. 

Rag on Huet all you want - but except for some early faltering with his new team, he's basically the same damn goalie and Khabby. 

If the Hawks end up finding a taker for Khabby towards the deadline - good.  I think Huet is up to the challenge of being a true number one.  If not, we've got a better back up than just about anyone in the league and who knows how helpful that'll be in a playoff series. 

Big thanks to www.Behindthenet.ca for the stats.. and once again - I'm an idiot.  So if I missed something in here - feel free to tear me apart in the comments.