Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers prove to be kings of the shootout

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Earlier this afternoon, we took a look at the best forwards in the often-criticized “skills competition” known as the shootout. While Adam Gretz revealed that Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll might have enjoyed the best single shootout season, our all-time study produced names like Jussi Jokinen, Brad Richards and Pavel Datsyuk.

For the sake of completion, it seems right to also look at how goalies and teams fared. We’ll start with two netminder categories and then keep it simple by looking at the teams who’ve won the most games via the shootout since it premiered during the 2005-06 season.

In the first goalie category, let’s take a look at which goalies win the most. There’s one big caveat, though: while they are listed by quantity of wins, netminders who were below or near .500 were taken off the list. It wouldn’t be that impressive to include Tim Thomas when he’s 23-26 or Roberto Luongo when he’s 23-27, would it?

Categories: Wins, losses, save attempts, goals allowed and save percentage.

Goalie Wins Losses SA GA Sv %
Henrik Lundqvist 37 24 237 55 0.768
Martin Brodeur 35 19 191 54 0.717
Ryan Miller 31 20 175 52 0.703
Marc-Andre Fleury 27 15 130 31 0.762
Kari Lehtonen 24 15 127 37 0.709
Jonathan Quick 22 7 109 29 0.734
Rick DiPietro 19 10 123 33 0.732
Mathieu Garon 19 10 99 25 0.748
Johan Hedberg 18 6 93 19 0.796
Jose Theodore 17 9 93 27 0.71
Pekka Rinne 17 9 103 23 0.777

***

As you can see, the upper portion of the list is dominated by goalies who play a ton of games. That being said, those guys are well above .500, so it seems somewhat fair to call them successful. We’ll see which ones also rank highly in save percentage before we decide for sure, though.

One note with save percentage: it wouldn’t be fair to reward a goalie for a couple nice performances in the shootout, so I limited to netminders with at least 60 save attempts.

Categories: Save percentage, wins, losses, save attempts and goals allowed.

Goalie Sv % Wins Losses SA GA
Johan Hedberg 0.796 18 6 93 19
Pekka Rinne 0.777 17 9 103 23
Henrik Lundqvist 0.768 37 24 237 55
Antti Niemi 0.767 9 7 60 14
Marc-Andre Fleury 0.762 27 15 130 31
Jonas Hiller 0.75 14 8 96 24
Mathieu Garon 0.748 19 10 99 25
Jonathan Quick 0.734 22 7 109 29
Jimmy Howard 0.732 8 9 71 19
Rick DiPietro 0.732 19 10 123 33
Martin Brodeur 0.717 35 19 191 54
Antero Niittymaki 0.716 12 15 95 27
Tim Thomas 0.714 23 26 175 50
Carey Price 0.714 13 13 98 28
Jose Theodore 0.71 17 9 93 27

***

When you combine wins and save percentage, it seems like Henrik is the “king” of the shootouts among goalies. The smaller sample size group is topped by Hedberg, Rinne and Quick.

Perhaps the most important consideration is how NHL teams have fared in the grand scheme of things, though. To settle this, we can keep it pretty simple: by looking at who won the most and least amount of shootouts. Let’s look at the top five teams first.

1. New York Rangers: 46-31 (92 goals for, 74 against)
2. Dallas Stars: 44-31 (100 goals for, 79 against)
3. New Jersey Devils: 42-25 (88 goals for, 71 against)
4. Pittsburgh Penguins: 42-27 (82 goals for, 62 against)
5. Edmonton Oilers: 41-35 (88 goals for, 82 against)

Notes: I gave the Devils the tiebreaker because their winning percentage is a little higher. The Kings are the only other NHL team to reach the 40-win mark in shootouts.

Now let’s look at the bottom five.

26. Florida Panthers: 24-44 (56 goals for, 82 against)
27. Calgary Flames: 23-31 (55 goals for, 66 against)
28. Carolina Hurricanes: 22-25 (25 goals for, 55 against)
29. Philadelphia Flyers: 19-34 (48 goals for, 71 against)
30. Ottawa Senators: 18-33 (33 goals for, 65 against)

Not too surprisingly, the Rangers, Oilers and Stars were in the top three for most shootout appearances while the Hurricanes, Flyers and Senators made the least appearances. The Rangers have been in 77 shootouts (most overall) while the Hurricanes appeared in 47, making them the only NHL team with less than 50.

Is there much to take from the team totals? Maybe not, although it must be noted that the top five includes four regular playoff teams (and the lowly Oilers) while the bottom five includes four teams who struggle to contend for postseason berths (plus the occasionally mighty Flyers).

It’s dangerous to read too much into those results, but perhaps those teams who rarely make it to shootouts might want to try to hold on in order to reach that point more often. The Hurricanes’ 2010-11 season might not have ended with that crushing loss to Tampa Bay if they earned more than five extra points from shootouts, for one thing.

The Buzzer: Crawford comes up big for Blackhawks

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Three stars

1. Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars

Lindell scored his second and third goals of the season on Sunday, with the latter being the game-winner as the Stars demolished the New York Islanders 6-2.

This spot could have easily gone to either Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn, each who came away with three-point nights in the win. Dallas has won two straight and are 6-2-2 in their past 10 games.

Gotta love on the defensemen sometimes though.

2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Crawford was struggling pretty bad prior to this past week after losing five straight. Since then, Crawford is 2-0-1 and has allowed just two goals in those three games.

Crawford’s recent surge was highlighted on Sunday after he stopped 39 shots on Sunday en route to a 3-1 Blackhawks win against the Minnesota Wild. The Hawks are just 2-5-3 in their past 10, so a better Crawford could go a long way as they try to position themselves in a tough Central Division.

3. Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights. 

It looks like every game in the Pacific Division is going to have deeper meaning this year with how poor those teams can be at times.

Marchessault, with two goals and an assist, ensured that Vegas got back to winning ways with a three-point night in a 6-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers. Marchessault was riding a three-game pointless streak coming into Sunday.

Other notable performances: 

  • Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist and Mikko Rantanen padded his stats with two more apples and the game-winner on the power play in overtime. That line is just silly.
  • Three-point night in a losing effort for Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour.
  • Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist in a losing cause himself.
  • Curtis McElhinney steered aside 33 shots to help the Hurricanes to a 2-1 win.

Highlights of the night

Tremendous:

Slick feed:

Factoids

Scores

Stars 6, Islanders 2

Hurricanes 2, Devils 1

Blackhawks 3, Wild 1

Avalanche 4, Ducks 3 (OT)

Golden Knights 6, Oilers 3


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Buzzer: Jarnkrok, Atkinson post hat tricks; Karlsson gets first for Sharks

Associated Press
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Three stars

1. Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets

Three goals for the hat trick and an assist to cap off a four-point night for Atkinson in a 4-1 win for the Blue Jackets against the Carolina Hurricanes. Not too shabby. Atkinson helped Columbus to its second-best start through 20 games in franchise history. The Blue Jackets have won three in a row and are sitting in the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Atkinson is rocking a four-game point streak now with six goals and nine points during that time. He’s currently on pace to eclipse the 40-goal mark, which would be a career-high. He had 35 two years ago.

Atkinson is now tied with Rick Nash for most hat tricks in franchise history at five.

2. Calle Jarnkrok, Nashville Predators

Jarnkork scored quite the hat trick himself on Saturday.

One of his goals came at even strength, another on the power play and one shorthanded. There should be a special name for that, like the hat-hat trick or something (terrible, right?) or maybe the three-phase hatty? I’m striking out.

Whatever ever way you slice it, it was no small feat. Since 2013-14, only seven players — including Jarnkrok — have done it. Not bad for your first hatty.

3. Aaron Dell, San Jose Sharks 

San Jose got a Dell on Saturday night, and it stopped 30 shots for his fourth career shutout in a 4-0 win against the St. L

Not a bad purchase.

Dell exacted a bit of revenge after he was between the pipes on Nov. 9 when the Sharks were blanked by the same Blues team 4-0 on Nov. 9.

Other notable performances:

  • The Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames can both take a bow. What a game.
  • We almost need to create a ‘Mike Hoffman Streak Watch’ section or something like that. Regardless, the man pushed his point streak to 15 games on Saturday with a goal and an assist, extending the franchise record.
  • Carey Price is taking a beating in the media but he’s been solid over his past two games, including stopping 36-of-38 in a 3-2 win.
  • Henrik Lundqvist captured win No. 438 to pass Jacques Plante for seventh on the NHL’s all-time list.
  • Mark Stone had two goals in a 6-4 win for the Ottawa Senators over the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Chris Kreider is a big reason why the New York Rangers are near the top of the Metropolitan Division. He had a three-point night, scoring and adding two assists.
  • Speaking of the Metropolitan, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30-of-31 and has now won in his past four appearances. His Blue Jackets are in first place.
  • The Buffalo Sabres are good. Rasmus Dahlin is also good and he had a goal and an assist to help the Buffalo Sabres to their fifth straight win.
  • Elias Pettersson scored again, so Vancouver can breathe again.
  • Erik Karlsson finally scored his first of the season in his 21st game, so San Jose can also stop holding its breath.
  • Jaroslav Halak continues to defy anyone and everyone’s expectations. He stopped 31 shots for his seventh win of the season. He’s got a .935 save percentage and a 2.07 goals-against average.

Highlights of the night

Erik Karlsson dropped his first goal with the San Jose Sharks. It was quite the rocket.

Jarnkrok’s hatty:

And Atkinson’s:

Factoids

Scores
Lightning 6, Flyers 5 (OT)
Red Wings 3, Devils 2 (OT)
Sabres 3, Wild 2
Canadiens 3, Canucks 2
Senators 6, Penguins 4
Rangers 4, Panthers 2
Blue Jackets 4, Hurricanes 1
Bruins 2, Coyotes 1
Predators 5, Kings 3
Flames 4, Oilers 2
Sharks 4, Blues 0


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Saturday’s Battle of Alberta was gloriously epic

Associated Press
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Hate.

At times on Saturday night at the Saddledome in Calgary, it seethed.

And it was glorious. Mightily, brilliantly, glorious.

Saturday night was alright for mayhem and the Battle of Alberta had it in droves.

A great game of hockey bookmarked massive hits, fights and hate. Did I mention hate?

The montage above was just first-period highlights.

Let’s recap:

  • The Leon Drasaitl hit on Matthew Tkachuk knocked the latter out of the game for a while
  • Nurse clearly threw another bomb after the linesmen go in between him Sam Bennett
  • Nurse was telling the linesman to let him and not in those exact words
  • Connor McDavid and Mikael Backlund wrestled

The hit that led to Nurse and Bennett scraping is here:

The hate resumed in the second period, because of course it did.

Milan Lucic was engaged in this game, a sight for sore eyes for Oilers fans.

Here’s a sample of that engagement:

Now, if Lucic can bottle that and take some sips before each game going forward…

Oilers Twitter seemed quite pleased with No. 27 during the game.

Calgary prevailed in the game, winning 4-2 after scoring four unanswered as the Oilers squandered a 2-0 lead.

Neither team started their struggling No. 1 netminders. David Rittich for Calgary was the better of the two backups in the game, stopping three breakaways in the game. Edmonton simply couldn’t douse the Flames, who kept it coming in the third frame when the Oilers started to fizzle out.

Bonus: For old times’ sake, here’s the scrap of all scraps in the Battle of Alberta:

John Tortorella would have been proud.

Let the hype begin for the next game in the famed series on Dec. 9 in Edmonton.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Soak it in: Buffalo Sabres are good

Associated Press
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Remember when the Buffalo Sabres were bad?

The answer is we all do. You don’t have to go that far back in the annals of hockey history to find some woefully bad Sabres teams.

But those days of Buffalo being the butt-end of jokes and all of that sort of thing seem to be over with. The western New Yorkers aren’t simply toiling as an embarrassing team anymore. It’s been a bit of a process to turn the ship around, but the fruits of that labor seem to be flourishing so far this season.

Case and point: Buffalo has now cobbled together five straight wins, including triumphs over the Tampa Bay Lightning — tops in the Atlantic Division — and the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild, teams sitting second and third in the Central Division, respectively.

They’ve embraced the grind, have learned to weather storms and are still standing at the end of it.

In Winnipeg on Friday, the Sabres were outshot 12-4 in the first period and survived. In Minnesota on Saturday, they were again pelted in the opening frame, doubled up 18-9 on the shot counter, and still found a way to only be down by a single goal.

And in both games, they battled back in the third, tied the game and then won it late in regulation or in extra hockey, as was the case in Winnipeg. And they did it on back-to-back nights when you’d have forgiven them for packing it in early against Minnesota after Friday’s game, which needed 65 minutes and seven rounds of a shootout.

Summer acquisitions of Jeff Skinner and Carter Hutton have played massive roles in Buffalo’s ascent up the standings a month-and-a-half into the season.

Skinner has 14 goals and 21 points in 20 games this season after coming over from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Hutton is 4-0-0 in his past four games with a 1.42 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage.

Linus Ullmark is 4-0-1 in his backup role and Buffalo had the 11th best team save percentage coming into Saturday. 

Their penalty kill is in the top 10

Jason Pominville has turned back the clock with nine goals and 17 points thus far. Thirty-five years old and the wear and tear of 1,000 games? Pfft. Pominville is laughing at Father Time. 

And most importantly, they’re resilient.

“I just think we bent a little bit but we didn’t break,” Sabres head coach Phil Housley said after Friday’s win in Winnipeg. “I think last year we maybe would have broke a little more and gave the game away. We hung in there. That’s what’s great about this group, that they stick with it. We make some adjustments in between periods and they follow through with those adjustments. But it’s great for them, they’ve shown the resiliency up to this point in the season.”

The Sabres are simply an exciting team to watch these days and they’re positioning themselves to be in the playoff hunt, both this year and in the future.

Imagine that.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck