Thursday was a fun night with action throughout the entire National Hockey League. We got to see a shutout in retro uniforms and another save of the candidate. Also, we will look back to a time when coaching wasn’t making all the headlines in Toronto.
Binnington Nabs His First Doughnut of the Season
The St. Louis Blues had their 90s throwback uniforms on Thursday night and rolled to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Calgary Flames. Forward Zach Sandford had the first four-point game of his NHL career with a goal and three assists.
Goaltender Jordan Binnington stood tall in net with 40 saves for his first shutout of the season and sixth since being recalled by the Blues last December. He is averaging one shutout per every eight starts in his young NHL career. His performance last night would have made Curtis Joseph proud, who his mask was paying tribute to.
Despite facing 40 shots, Binnington did not have to face too many high-danger scoring chances.
“It’s a pretty smooth night,” he said during the postgame scrum. “Sometimes games are going to go like that, sometimes they’re not. You’ve got to stay composed.”
Binnington is now 11-3-4 with a 2.19 goals-against average (GAA) and .926 save percentage (SV%) to help the Blues to the top spot in the Western Conference.
Rask Dazzles Versus the Sabres
Thursday was a good night for both of the goaltenders from last June’s Stanley Cup Final. Tuukka Rask had a big night at the TD Garden to lead the Boston Bruins over the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins were outshot by the Sabres 38-27, but Rask was on his game to keep his team in first place of the Atlantic Division with a 3-2 victory.
The best of Rask’s 36 saves came about five minutes into the third period. Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues got the puck on his stick and had a look at a wide-open cage. Somehow, the former Vezina Trophy winner was able to sprawl backward and keep the shot out with his glove hand.
The save looked very similar to the great save Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights made earlier this week versus the Nic Petan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I don’t make highlights too often like that because you know I try to be in position to make saves,” the Bruins’ netminder said of his save. “… It’s fun to make a save like that. But yeah, it’s just one those instinct saves that I can’t [explain], you’re tracking it and then you see that you’ve got to do something, and then it hits you.”
Rask is proving that certain things do get better with age as he is playing some of the best hockey of his career right now. He is currently 10-2-2 with a 2.05 GAA, .931 SV% and two shutouts on the season.
Check out the THW Goalie Page for everything between the pipes.
Goalie History: Maple Leafs Set Early NHL Standard
The Maple Leafs have dominated the hockey headlines the past couple of days with the firing of head coach Mike Babcock. 79 years ago, it was the goaltending in Toronto that were making the headlines and not the drama behind the bench.
On Nov. 22, 1930, the Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to start a season with five straight shutouts. The record-breaking shutout came over the Ottawa Senators courtesy of Lorne Chabot. The previous four came at the expense of the New York Americans (twice), Philadelphia Quakers and Montreal Maroons with two of the games ending in 0-0 ties.
Chabot finished the 1930-31 season with six shutouts and 21 wins. He went on to win the Vezina Trophy following his great 1934-35 season with the Chicago Blackhawks that saw him win 26 games with eight shutouts and a 1.80 GAA. Chabot finished his career with 200 wins, 71 shutouts and a 2.03 GAA in 11 seasons with six different teams.
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.