The next 10 years or so will lend a lot more weight to this, but I think it is becoming clear that the parity in the post-lockout NHL has lead to every team having holes and it being detrimental to spend over a certain amount on a goalie... even an elite one. In the same way, I think it has become clear that, without a salary cap, the top end teams tended to differ only in the quality of the goalie. The best teams with the deepest pockets almost always had quality scoring depth or teams constructed piece by piece to play the trap. The difference was that there are only a few truly elite goalies to go around.
Now, however, you want the goalie who will put up a .915 consistently but it's financially risky to spend the money on the guy that will put up the huge numbers.
The mistake people make is overspending for weaker players, and this happens more at positions with poor depth. People make the most note of it on defense because of the number of questionable contracts that get handed out to mediocre depth D, but it's also true of goalies. Look no further than the guy wearing a baseball cap on the bench of Blackhawk games.
The playoffs are a pure crapshoot. And this gives birth to the myth that goaltending doesn't really matter. Of course, this is like watching the Atlanta Braves struggles to advance in the postseason and arguing that pitching doesn't matter. In a seven game series, anything can happen. However, it's also true that if you look at the playoffs in general, you see more high-end goalies further along in the playoffs than you see their weaker compatriots. This is partly due to the fact that goalies play a massive role in the results of games, and the better your goalie the more likely you're going to get a good performance (of course, there are no guarantees).
However, a more fundamental point about why goalies matter so much. It is an empirical truth that seeding matters. Starting at home in the playoffs... facing weaker opponents early on in the playoffs... these are important factors. How does this relate to goaltending? An elite goalie over an 82 game schedule plays a significant role in the points you accumulate. That's how a team with nothing going for it other than one elite scorer and an elite goalie was playing us for a playoff spot in the 82nd game of the year.
Yeah, I hear what you're saying and tend to agree...but do think you're overdoing it a bit. I recall many times that there were Habs in front of our net, and many times that the D eliminated them well, or a Flyer swatted the puck out(countless times), or the rebounds just didn't bounce right to a Hab, or the shot was never able to get through in the first place, or Leighton was able to actually hold onto the puck or direct it to the corner.
Again, I agree the Habs didn't focus on that enough, but they definitely did have their efforts.
They did, in Game 3 and 5. What they were doing in 1, 2, and 4 was embarrassing. They had a stat at the start of the 3rd period of Game 2... the Habs had 3 second chance opportunities in the 1st period, and 0 in the 2nd. I don't care how good you're playing defense, if the opposition is getting ZERO second chances, they're doing it wrong.