Chris Driedger’s career has had plenty of ups and downs, and his play this postseason could lead to significant peak if he and the Firebirds can secure six more wins.

Coming off an injury-shortened 2022-23 season, Driedger, who backed up Joey Daccord during Coachella Valley’s postseason journey last year, has been the backbone of the Firebirds team since opening night. He went 24-7-7 with four shutouts in the regular season, posting a .917 save percentage and ranking fourth in the league with a 2.26 goals-against average.

In nine playoff games, his numbers are even more impressive: an 8-1 record, a 2.09 GAA and a .933 save percentage, allowing just 19 goals on 285 shots.

“He’s an NHL goalie,” Firebirds head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters after Driedger’s 31-save performance in Game 2 against Milwaukee on Friday night. “He’s proven it over and over again and he’s been that for us all year long.

“He’s playing pretty special right now. It’s a huge comfort to have him in the net, going into every game knowing you’re going to get elite goaltending.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned 19-year-old defenseman Denton Mateychuk to the Monsters.

Mateychuk’s junior season with Moose Jaw (WHL) ended on Saturday with a loss in the semifinals of the Memorial Cup. He was named to the tournament all-star team and was selected as the tournament’s most sportsmanlike player. Mateychuk was also named the Western Hockey League’s outstanding defenseman for 2023-24.

The native of Dominion City, Man., was the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. He tallied 75 points in 52 regular-season games along with 30 points in 20 postseason contests for Moose Jaw this year.

― with files from Patrick Williams


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