Monday night’s National Hockey League schedule only provided us with two games, but it was not a good night for goaltenders with 17 total goals scored. Last week’s top goaltender had a rough night in Carolina. Plus, there is a need for a new backup netminder in Toronto and we will look back on a pretty historic date in NHL history.
Nilsson Struggles After Big Honor
Ottawa Senators’ goaltender Anders Nilsson had one of the best weeks of his career last week. He was very dominating in all three of his starts, stopping 96 of the 101 shots he faced. He posted a 1.64 goals-against average (GAA) and .950 save percentage (SV%) in his three victories.
His big week started with a 32-save performance in a 6-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Nov. 4. Nilsson stopped 26 shots in an overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 7. Two nights later, he denied 38 of 39 shots when he beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1.
The NHL honored the 29-year-old Sweden native by naming him the First Star of the Week for his effort.
However, things did not go very well in his first start of the new week; a rematch against the Hurricanes. Carolina jumped all over last week’s First Star by scoring four goals on 19 shots. Nilsson was pulled after the fourth goal and was replaced by Craig Anderson, who also allowed four goals in an 8-2 loss.
Hutchinson Out in Toronto
Being the backup goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs is not as glamorous as it sounds. First off, you are not going to get a lot of playing time. Since joining the Maple Leafs prior to the 2016-17 season, Frederik Andersen has started 206 games, the most by any goaltender in the NHL.
In addition to not playing a whole lot, there comes the pressure of high expectations in one of the most intense hockey markets in the world. The bar is set pretty high for this group and if the expectations are not met, the fan base is quick to turn on you.
Michael Hutchinson was brought in to back up Andersen after Garret Sparks was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights during the offseason. Things did not go well for the 29-year-old netminder as he went 0-4-1 with a 4.44 GAA and .879 SV%.
He was in goal for Sunday night’s 5-4 loss at the Chicago Blackhawks, which saw him surrender four goals in the opening period. That was the final straw for the Maple Leafs as they placed Hutchinson on waivers Monday morning.
While Hutchinson did not play great and had issues with his rebound control, the Maple Leafs did not play as good in front of him as they normally do for Andersen. According to Natural Stat Trick, Hutchinson has faced, on average, 12 high-danger shots per 60 minutes. In case you are wondering, Andersen has faced 6 high-danger shots per 60 minutes this season.
The Maple Leafs recalled Kasimir Kaskisuo from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. The youngster has been one of the better goaltenders in the AHL this season with a 2.13 GAA and .928 SV%.
Nov. 12 in NHL History
This date has provided us with quite a few big moments in goaltending history and we will take a look back at three of the more recent ones.
The start of the 2009-10 season was not a good one for Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers. He went 1-7-1 in his first nine starts of the year, but then things started to pick up once the calendar flipped over to November.
On Nov.12, 2009, Vokoun made 40 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping all four shots in the shootout to beat the Boston Bruins 1-0. The Panthers were outshot 19-1 in the second period, but Vokoun stood tall. The shutout was the third in Vokoun’s last four starts after his miserable stretch to begin the season.
On Nov. 12, 2016, Carey Price became the first goaltender in NHL history to win his first 10 games of a season. The historic victory game in the Montreal Canadiens’ 5-0 shutout of the Detroit Red Wings. It was Price’s 13th straight win, dating back to the 2015-16 season. The win gave the Canadiens a 13-1-1 record and most victories through the first 15 games in any season of their storied history.
And finally, on Nov. 12, 2018, Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves in a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The victory drew Lundqvist even with Jacques Plante for the seventh-most wins by a goaltender in league history. The future Hall of Famer has 453 career wins, the sixth-most all-time and the most by any active netminder.
There are nine games on tonight’s schedule, will we see more history made on Nov. 12?
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.