by Lindsay Kramer || NHL.com
Lindsay Kramer, the AHL correspondent for NHL.com, profiles an up-and-coming player each Monday during the season, and his AHL notebook appears each Thursday on NHL.com.
Regardless of whatever crowd Milwaukee goalie Drew MacIntyre had to fight through to get regular-season minutes, he’s always had a knack of separating himself come playoff time.
Through his first 13 career first-round playoff games, MacIntyre is 10-3 with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage. He gave up just four goals in his team’s four-game sweep of Rockford to open this postseason, stopping 105 of 109 shots in the process.
"The bottom line is I’ve learned I can’t worry about the other goalies on my team," said MacIntyre, 25. "I’ve sat on the bench for some playoff runs. I’ve learned that chance (to be a playoff goalie) doesn’t come along every year. I know how much playoffs can make a goalie."
It’s a reality that MacIntyre understands most acutely after missing out on that chance last season.
MacIntyre was the No. 1 goalie for Manitoba for most of last season before rookie Cory Schneider heated up at the end. MacIntyre admitted he pressed too hard to keep up and turned in a couple of clunkers.
Schneider won the job for the playoffs.
MacIntyre joined Milwaukee as a free agent this season, but slammed into almost exactly the same challenge. Rookie goalie Mark Dekanich set a franchise record with a 2.09 GAA in 30 games, but this time MacIntyre put together a great start-to-finish effort (34-15-4, 2.30, .921) to hold his spot into the playoffs.
"I’ve done my thing the whole year. Mark has been phenomenal. But it’s been my job to lose and I’ve been consistent enough to keep it," said MacIntyre, who led the AHL in wins. "That’s one of the things I’ve done a good job with this year, not thinking about little things like (competition). If I did the same things this year (as last year), then shame on me for not learning my lesson."
For a goalie in just his fifth full pro season, MacIntyre has had a ton of quality partners in net. With Grand Rapids, he shared time with Joey MacDonald and Jimmy Howard. With the Moose, he worked with Wade Flaherty and Schneider. Dekanich looks like a keeper for the Admirals.
"I’ve definitely played with some pretty talented goalies. You have to pick out something from each situation to learn from," MacIntyre said. "I’ve never been given a job. I’ve had to work for each one of them. I literally wouldn’t want it any other way."
Then he should be happy for the foreseeable future. MacIntyre will be a free agent again this summer, and he doesn’t expect his next landing spot to be any softer in terms of guaranteed playing time.
"All year I haven’t thought one day ahead. I’m not going to start now," he said. "This is the second-best league in the world. The other one (the NHL) is the best league in the world, and that’s where I want to be. There’s always going to be challengers. I’ve learned to worry about your own game."