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Hextall on Hockey: 2 top goaltenders worth the price for contenders

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price defects a shot as they face the New York Rangers during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

When the NHL was conceptualizing the league’s return-to-play format, certain teams were upset that Montreal would be included in the play-in series because they would have to deal with a rested Carey Price in the opening round.

That’s how much Price is respected by his peers — consistently considered the best goalie in the NHL in yearly player polls.

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So why would Montreal GM Marc Bergevin feel the need to backstop his starter and trade for goaltender Jake Allen from the St. Louis Blues — a move that ties up nearly $15 million in that one position in a flat cap era?

Because Bergevin knows that if you want to be a playoff team — a Stanley Cup contender in any way — you have to own not one but two starting goaltenders.

Read more: Hextall on Hockey — Backup goalie a necessary insurance plan for Winnipeg Jets

The post-season is making the case for all teams to take note of having a 1A and 1B tender tandem.

The Vegas Golden Knights turned to both Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury in their quest for the Cup. Dallas would be dead in the water without Anton Khudobin. And while Boston has departed the bubble, without Jaro Halak stepping up and stepping in for starter Tuukka Rask, who opted out of the return to play, the Bruins wouldn’t have been nearly as competitive against Tampa Bay.

And Vancouver turned to backup Thatcher Demko to make his playoff debut in an elimination game. The kid came up with 42 saves and the Canucks lived to see another day.

So you want to win a Stanley Cup? Then you’d better have two starters in your net, even if it’s a hefty “price” to pay.

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