Tuesday night was not a great evening for National Hockey League goaltenders as there were 48 total goals scored in seven games. The struggles continue in Toronto while last year’s Stanley Cup hero does his thing. Plus, there are some trade rumors out of Chicago and today’s date is a big one for one of the all-time greats.
Andersen’s Struggles Continue
The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs were in Pittsburgh, they lost 6-1 to the Penguins and fired head coach Mike Babcock. They returned to the scene of the crime on Tuesday night and were soundly beaten 5-2 by Sidney Crosby and company.
Frederik Andersen’s post-injury struggles continued with just 19 saves on the night. His toughest moment came on the Penguins’ fifth and final goal when his turnover behind the net lead to this ugly goal against.
“Today was a good lesson in seeing a team that’s built like a championship team,” a dejected Andersen said after the game. “They haven’t really missed a step. Every time they’ve had a guy hurt, they have another guy coming in playing their back off with their effort and their detail. That is something we can learn from.”
In his three games back since returning from a neck injury, Andersen has given up 13 goals on 79 shots for a .835 save percentage (SV%). As the Maple Leafs try to hang onto a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, they might want to consider playing Jack Campbell a bit more down the stretch. He is 3-0-1 with a .919 SV% since being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings.
Binnington Blanks Devils
While quite a few goalies struggled to keep the puck out of their net Tuesday, it was smooth sailing for Jordan Binnington. He wasn’t very busy against the New Jersey Devils, but he stopped all 17 shots he faced to pick up his second shutout of the season.
The 3-0 win was the first for the St. Louis Blues since veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester collapsed on the bench in Anaheim. It also snapped their five-game losing streak and gave the Blues a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the top spot in both the Central Division and Western Conference.
“No. 1, it feels good to be back in the win column as a team,” Binnington told reporters after the game. “I think it’s important that we went through that and continued to believe in ourselves and grow and stick to the plan and just stay calm. It’s a great 60-minute game by us tonight. Hopefully, we can continue that going forward.”
The Blues have won each of their last 12 games versus the Devils, which ties their franchise record for the longest win streak against a single opponent. They won 12 straight against the Vancouver Canucks between 1997-2000 and the Arizona Coyotes between 2014-17. They will go for 13 in a row when they travel to New Jersey on March 6.
Blackhawks Hold Two Big Trade Chips
Entering the month of February, the Chicago Blackhawks were right in the thick of the wild card race in the Western Conference. However, a rough stretch out west has all but crushed their postseason hopes and they could be looking to become sellers before Monday’s trade deadline.
The Blackhawks have two veteran goaltenders in Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner who could be on the move. Both have played well this season and both will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
According to Elliotte Friedman in his latest “31 Thoughts” column for Sportsnet, Crawford and Lehner are both drawing interest from general managers across the league. He believes that the Colorado Avalanche has called on Crawford.
Friedman points out that a possible contract extension for Lehner will determine if they decide to move one or both of their goaltenders. Lehner signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Blackhawks last summer and is looking for a “fair” contract going forward.
If the Blackhawks ultimately decide to move Lehner for assets, they should have plenty of suitors. Friedman says that the Carolina Hurricanes have “a lot of interest” in Lehner and points out that they have an extra first-round draft pick at their expense.
This Date in Goaltending History: Roy Makes His Mark
If you were to build a Mount Rushmore of NHL goaltenders there is little down that you would be carving Patrick Roy’s likeness into the side of a mountain. Feb. 19 was a big date in his legendary career as he hit two personal milestones on it.
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On Feb. 19, 1996, Roy helped the Avalanche beat the Edmonton Oilers to become the youngest goaltender to win his 300th game in league history.
He made history again on Feb. 19, 1999, when he picked up his 30th win of the season at the Penguins, making him just the fourth goaltender to ever post six straight seasons with at least 30 wins. He would continue that streak all the way until his retirement in 2003, finishing his career with eight consecutive 30-win seasons.
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Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.