Friday night saw the National Hockey League’s hottest goaltender continue his remarkable play as his team continues to surge up the standings. We also have a touching tribute in Las Vegas, a big return in Edmonton as well as a look back at some goaltending history.
Vasilevskiy’s Streak Hits Double Digits
The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to terrorize the NHL with their recent hot streak. Anthony Cirelli scored his first career hat trick in a 7-1 beating of the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night. It marked the sixth time this season where the Lightning have scored at least seven goals in a game. They have won 12 out of their last 14 games and have pulled to within six points of the Boston Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves to win his 10th consecutive start, tying the longest personal winning streak of his career. He also had a 10-game winning streak last season as well and becomes only the fourth goaltender in NHL history to do so in back-to-back seasons.
Michel Larocque was the first do it for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons. Martin Brodeur did for the New Jersey Devils and so did Evgeni Nabokov when he was with the San Jose Sharks.
“Anytime you go on a run as we’ve got on here the last few weeks, you’re going to need everybody pulling in the same direction,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “But in the end, you need your goalie to bail you out when it’s needed. Tonight, I know we had a three-goal lead after one (period), but you knew a proud team over there was going to push at home. They got 18 shots [in the second period] and [Vasilevskiy] stood tall the whole time. … He’s been a big part of the run we’re on.”
Vasilevskiy is 11-0-1 in his last 12 starts with a 1.97 goals-against average (GAA), .933 save percentage (SV%) and two shutouts. The Lightning might be heading into their bye week at the worst time possible. They will not play again until after the All-Star Break when they travel to the Dallas Stars on Monday, Jan. 27. When things are going this well, the Lightning likely just want to keep on playing.
Fleury Pays Tribute to His Father
Back on Nov. 27, Marc-Andre Fleury’s father, Andre, passed away at the age of 63. Fleury took a nearly three-week leave of absence from the Vegas Golden Knights to spend time with his father during his last days and deal with his death.
Fleury is paying tribute to his late father by adding something he used to tell him as a youngster to his mask.
“Keep your eye on it. You practice as you play. Have fun.” — Pa
Raanta Could Return Today
When the Arizona Coyotes lost All-Star goaltender Darcy Kuemper for weeks due to a lower-body injury, they felt they were in good hands with Antti Raanta stepping in. That is, until, he went down with a lower-body injury himself.
Raanta will dress for Saturday afternoon’s big game at the Edmonton Oilers and he could start after missing the past three games. Adin Hill started the last three games for the Coyotes and earned three points with a win over the Sharks and a shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Coyotes enter today’s game tied with the Calgary Flames for first place in the Pacific Division. However, the standings are so tight that they could find themselves out of a Stanley Cup playoff spot altogether with a regulation loss today.
This Date in Goaltending History: Sawchuk Raises the Bar
Back on Jan. 18, 1964, Terry Sawchuk made NHL history by making 36 saves in a 2-0 shutout in Montreal. The shutout was the Detroit Red Wings’ legendary netminder’s 95th shutout of his career, passing George Hainsworth for the most ever at the time.
Sawchuk picked up his 103rd and final shutout on Feb. 1, 1970, and his record lasted for well over 30 years. His 103 shutouts were the standard in the league until Brodeur picked up his 104th career shutout on Dec. 21, 2009.
Brodeur finished his career with 123 shutouts and Sawchuk still is the only other goaltender in NHL history with over 100 shutouts. Both of their spots on the all-time shutout list are pretty secure when you consider Henrik Lundqvist leads all active goaltenders with 63 shutouts.