Filip Gustavsson has been absolutely excellent for the Minnesota Wild in their first-round series against the Dallas Stars, sporting a pristine 1.71 goals-against average and .941 save percentage over three games heading into a crucial Game 5 on Tuesday night.
After being traded from the Ottawa Senators to the State of Hockey last July, he has found his home in Minneapolis.
“The older group is so easy going with all the guys and letting everyone in. Ever since I got here, the staff and everyone has been super helpful, very nice to me,” Gustavsson said, according to NHL.com's Tracey Myers. “I've felt at home right away.”
That comfort level has translated to his game, as the Swedish goaltender has been phenomenal for the Wild; he went 22-9-7 in the regular season with a 2.10 goals-against average and .931 save percentage, along with three shutouts over 37 regular-season starts.
That GAA and save percentage put him second to only Linus Ullmark, who is highly considered the frontrunner to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie, per Myers.
“‘Gus' has been great,” Wild forward Ryan Hartman said, per Myers. “Seems like he doesn't wow you with some crazy saves, but I feel that means he's in the right position. He's so compact and it looks easy at times for him. He's never making crazy, flashy saves.”
A former second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2016 NHL Draft, Gustavsson was traded to Ottawa in Feb. 2018, but never got his footing on a rebuilding Senators team.
But he's found his home in Minnesota, and has turned into the reliable starter the Wild have so desperately lacked over the last several postseasons.
“Coming here, a fresh start, fresh people around me and having such a fantastic team and mentorship in the locker room has helped a lot with confidence and being able to improve and play my game,” he explained. “It's been really fun.”
Filip Gustavsson will now lead the Wild into a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.