Veteran NHL goaltenders took over the
spotlight between March 2nd and 11th as several of them
set new milestones. Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets posted his
third consecutive shutout on March 7th by stopping 33 shots in a 2-0
victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Russian netminder also shut the Devils
out 3-0 two days earlier when he stopped all 20 shots he faced. That was his
second straight shutout as Bobrovsky began his streak on March 2nd when
he made 38 saves in a 1-0 whitewashing of the Minnesota Wild.
Following the March 7th win over
the Devils, the 28-year-old Bobrovsky had gone five straight games allowing two
or less goals. He then came back to earth on March 10th with a 4-3
win over the Buffalo Sabres, but still managed to post his fourth straight win
by stopping 29 of 32 shots. His last loss in regulation time came back on
February 19th, a streak of six games. Heading into the week of March 14th,
Bobrovsky had a 36-13-4 record with a goals-against-average of 2.07, a 93.0
save percentage and six shutouts.
New York Rangers’ netminder Henrik
Lundqvist made the headlines as he won his 404th career game to move
past Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr and into 10th spot on the all-time
wins list. Lundqvist achieved the milestone on March 7th in a 5-2
road win over the Florida Panthers. The 35-year-old Swedish native stopped 43
shots to win his 30th game of the season. It was the 11th
time Lundqvist has posted at least 30 wins in a season and no other goalie in
NHL history has managed to win 404 games in his first 12 campaigns and win 30
games in 11 of their first dozen seasons.
The only season Lundqvist failed to record
30 wins was in 2012/13 when the NHL played a condensed 48-game schedule due to
a lockout. He still managed to win a league-high 24 games that season in 43
games though. Unfortunately for Lundqvist, he is currently sidelined with a hip
injury as he hopes to climb the all-time wins list. He needs 44 more victories
to move past Glenn Hall, Tony Esposito, Jacques Plante and Terry Sawchuk to
move into sixth place on the list. Only two other goalies have managed to win
at least 30 games in 11 different seasons. They were Hall of Famers Patrick Roy
with 13 and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur with 14.
Another goalie on a hot streak is Craig
Anderson of the Ottawa Senators. Anderson took some time off earlier in the
season to take care of his ill wife. But he’s gone 8-2 since coming back and
won his sixth straight game on March 11th with a 4-2 win over the
Colorado Avalanche. He’s allowed two or less goals in seven of those outings
and is leading the Senators on a charge to a first-place duel with the Montreal
Canadiens in the Atlantic Division. The 35-year-old Anderson was tied with
Bobrovsky for third in the league with a 93.0 save percentage and had a record
of 21-8-1 with a sixth-best 2.23 goals-against average.
Jonathan Quick has returned to the net for
the Los Angeles Kings as they attempt a late-season push at making the
playoffs. Quick was injured in the first week of the season and returned to
action on February 25th. The 31-year-old has won four of his five
starts since returning to the crease, including three consecutive victories.
Quick appears to be back in top form already as his goals-against-average stood
at 2.38 on March 13th and his save percentage was 91.7. The Kings
recently traded backup goalie Peter Budaj to Tampa Bay for Ben Bishop, but it
looks like Los Angeles will pin their hopes on Quick down the stretch run.
Meanwhile Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh
Penguins has already won a Stanley Cup, but he’s still technically a rookie
this season. Murray has won four of his past five outings and enters the week
of March 14th with a very impressive record of 26-8-3. He also had
four shutouts along with a 12th-best goals-against average of 2.33
and was sixth best in the league with a 92.5 save percentage. The 22-year-old
Murray shouldn’t be forgotten about at the end of the season when the votes are
tabulated for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the rookie of the year.
And last but not least, 31-year-old veteran
Brian Elliott may have struggled earlier in the season after joining the
Calgary Flames in the summer, but he’s been red hot lately. Elliott earned his
second straight shutout on March 11th with a 3-0 win over the
Winnipeg Jets after shutting out the Montreal Canadiens 5-0 in his previous
outing two days earlier. Elliott has now won eight consecutive games as the
Flames try to sew up a playoff spot and his save percentage during that streak
is over 94.0.
Labels: Ian Palmer