There is no distinct definition for the term "stealing a series" in NHL lingo. Only vague descriptions classify the phrase.

"It means that the goalie is so way better than the other goalie," Predators goaltending coach Mitch Korn said.

This could be a fundamental storyline for Nashville's first round playoff series against Anaheim, which starts today. Judging by statistics this season, Pekka Rinne is so way better than the Ducks' goaltenders.

But does having a thoroughbred goaltender such as Rinne always denote playoff success? Or does having a high-powered offense and decent goaltender mean a deeper postseason run?

The Predators obviously prefer the former.

"We don't rack up six or seven goals a night," Coach Barry Trotz said. "We try to get around that three mark, and obviously goaltending is a big part of not giving them four."

The formula used to be simple in the NHL. Defense and goaltending won championships. In the 10 years before the lockout, big names dominated the goaltending championship landscape.

Hall of Famer Patrick Roy won two with Colorado. All-time wins leader Martin Brodeur won three with New Jersey. Two-time Hart Trophy winner Dominik Hasek won a Stanley Cup with Detroit. Ed Belfour, who ranks third in all-time wins, won a Stanley Cup with Dallas.

But a year ago the paradigm shifted. The Chicago Blackhawks — behind first-year goaltender Antti Niemi — won the Stanley Cup over the Philadelphia Flyers. His counterpart in the final: journeyman Michael Leighton, who had never started more than 34 games in a regular season.