Before the puck drops for Game 1 on Saturday, we’re going to preview the Checkers’ first-round series against Providence piece by piece. Wrapping the preview up is the teams’ netminders.

BY THE NUMBERS

Statistically, there was no better goalie in the AHL this season than Alex Nedeljkovic. The third-year pro led the league in wins, goals-against average and minutes, logging a staggering 34-9-5 record en route to winning the Bastien Award as the AHL’s outstanding goalie. In fact, over a 19-game stretch from the end of January to the start of April, Nedeljkovic held his opponent to two or fewer goals 18 times.

Not to be outdone, deadline acquisition Dustin Tokarski has been lights out since joining the Checkers at the start of March. The veteran – who won a Calder Cup in 2012 – has gone undefeated in seven starts for Charlotte while surrendering a total of eight goals and not allowing more than two in any single game.

Providence has been buoyed in net for nearly the entire season by the duo of Zane McIntyre and Dan Vladar. The former took on more of the workload, notching a 25-14-7 record through 46 appearances and recorded the better goals-against average of the two, while Vladar went 13-13-4 through 31 games and produced an equal .898 save percentage to McIntyre. The Bruins went back and forth between their two netminders fairly frequently throughout the regular season, though McIntyre stood out as the de facto starter, with Vladar only getting consecutive starts three times.

HEAD TO HEAD

Nedeljkovic got the start for four of the eight matchups between Charlotte and Providence this season and proved to be extremely successful. The netminder didn’t suffer any regulation losses against the Bruins, coming away with a 3-0-1 record, a 2.24 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Tokarski never faced them this season while wearing a Charlotte sweater, but he did post a 2-1-1 record with a Hartford team that ended up near the bottom of the Atlantic Division.

McIntyre got the nod five times against Charlotte this season and earned a 3-1-1 record along the way, while Vladar registered a 1-2-0 mark against the Checkers. Both netminders turned in strong performances regardless of the final outcome, however, with McIntyre coming away with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage and Vladar putting up a 2.36 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

KEY FOR CHARLOTTE

“The guys love playing for him,” said Vellucci of Nedeljkovic. “He does everything right. He’s a really good pro off the ice. To me, we have two really good goalies, they’ve both been great. When your team likes to play for your goaltenders that’s a good thing. But Ned is our guy, he’s been the number one goalie all year and I expect the same thing in the playoffs.”
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.