There aren’t many goalie performances to dissect from Wednesday night, but it is a historic day for hall of famer Glenn Hall. Also, we’ll dissect one of the strangest goals you’ll ever see, and check in on the two teams in Sweden.
Wednesday was a light night of NHL action with just two games. Henrik Lundqvist looked strong for the New York Rangers, saving 35 of 36 shots against the Detroit Red Wings. Jimmy Howard struggled to find traction, allowing four goals on 30 shots.
In the other game, Mike Smith’s run of form hit a wall of one of the hottest teams in hockey, the St. Louis Blues. Jake Allen had his first strong start of the season (though he still let in one head-scratcher), powering the Blues to victory with 32 saves on 34 shots.
This Date in History: Hall’s Streak Ends
Glenn Hall is one of the most successful and enduring goaltenders in NHL history. After all, he’s called “Mr. Goalie” for a reason. Hall played 906 games in his career, but unbelievably, 502 of those came consecutively between the 1955-56 season and this date in 1962.
Hall went on that incredible run for the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, winning a Calder Trophy and a Stanley Cup along the way. But on this day in 1962, he suffered a back injury in the first period of a game against the Boston Bruins and had to leave. It ended a streak that remains among the most unbreakable records in hockey.
Hall would go onto win three Vezina Trophies and one Conn Smythe Trophy (one of the few players to win that award without winning the Cup the same season) and became an unquestioned Hockey Hall of Fame member.
The Lonely Island
Goaltending can be a thankless job. Goalies are often alone on an island out there on the ice, helpless to do anything but watch the attacking players swarm. But rarely has that been quite so true as it was for Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks in overtime against the Blues on Tuesday.
Due to a… uh… mishap behind the Blues net, all three of the Canucks players got tangled up with one another. That left Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, and Jaden Schwartz alone on what became a 3-on-0 breakaway.
The strategy for 3-on-3 overtime is always evolving, but it never quite figured in this. The three Blues ended up alone in front of Markstrom, playing a game of “who’s going to take the shot?” Eventually, it was Schwartz who buried the almost certain goal, giving the Blues their third consecutive overtime victory.
That goal notwithstanding, Markstrom is still having a strong season. He’s 5-2-3, and has a .918 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.45 goals against average (GAA). Seven of his 10 starts have been judged quality, meaning his save percentage has been higher than this season’s league average.
Goalie Gram: Chocolatey Goodness
The Tampa Bay Lightning are set to meet the Buffalo Sabres for two games during the Sweden series, and even Russian players like goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy are getting in on the national heritage.
Some Lightning fans gave the reigning Vezina Trophy winner some of the local delicacy, two massive Toblerone chocolate bars bearing his name (well, “Vasy” will have to suffice for the last name). Technically, Toblerone is a Swiss chocolate bar, but it’s the thought that counts.
Vasilevskiy isn’t off to too hot a start on the young season. In just nine starts, he is 5-4, with a .904 SV% and a 3.12 GAA. He’s also got minus-1.11 goals saved above average (GSAA).
He’ll likely start one of the back-to-back games against either Carter Hutton or the Swedish native Linus Ullmark, both of whom have been strong this season. In fact, Hutton has been stellar in his second season with the Sabres, posting a .928 SV% and a 2.09 GAA along with a 6-2-1 record.
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.