This is a significant date in the history of NHL goaltending. We’ll cover that after we look at one goalie who took a beating on Friday night.
Bishop Bludgeoned by Panthers
Ben Bishop has been a top NHL goalie in the last two seasons and generally throughout his career. Entering Friday night, he was 12-7-3, with a .933 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.07 goals against average (GAA), in addition to a league-leading 16.25 goals saved above average (GSAA). But even the best goalies have an off night, and unfortunately for his Dallas Stars, Friday night was his turn.
Coming off a six-goal game against the Ottawa Senators on Monday, the Florida Panthers got set to host the Stars with a hot lineup and a lot of rest. That spelled disaster for the visitors, as the Panthers scored two goals in the first period and added five more in the second to seal what would ultimately be a 7-4 victory. The final goal was a penalty shot by Noel Acciari. With it, he sealed his second hat trick in as many games, a natural hat trick he completed in 3:59.
Bishop was off his game from the hop. Ultimately, he allowed six goals on 20 shots and was pulled after 27:58. Anton Khudobin replaced him and allowed only on tally: Acciari’s historic penalty shot. Though the Panthers only generated 11 high danger chances and 33 shots, they looked lethal, and they dominated the Stars goaltenders.
After the game, Bishop was quick to accept blame for his performance: “It wasn’t my night,” he said. “It could easily be a 1-1 game after the first… after they get that third goal, it’s when, y’know, as a goalie you need to come up with a big save and keep the team in it, and… I wasn’t able to do that tonight.” The Stars will next get a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday at home against the Calgary Flames.
Brodeur’s Historic Night
Though the debate about the greatest goaltender of all time will rage on forever, there’s no debating the most accomplished. Martin Brodeur holds the NHL goalie records for most games played (1,265), most minutes (74,380), most wins (691) and, ever since this date in 2009, most shutouts (ultimately 125).
On Dec. 21, 2009, Brodeur passed Terry Sawchuck with his 104th shutout, taking sole possession of the record. Playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the now-defunct Mellon Arena, he made 35 saves in a game his New Jersey Devils won 4-0.
Many of Brodeur’s records border on untouchable, but his 125 shutouts may well stand forever. The game has changed dramatically, creating more goals, and no active goalie is even close. Since Roberto Luongo retired with 77, the highest active goalie is Henrik Lundqvist, who has 63 to his name.
Brodeur retired in the 2014-15 season after a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues, the only seven games he ever played for a team other than the Devils. With them, he recorded his final shutout on Dec. 29, 2014, in a game against the Colorado Avalanche in which the Blues allowed only 16 shots. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 and has served in the Blues and Devils front office ever since.
Goalie Gram: Binnington Visits the Kids
During the holiday season, we often see NHL teams reach out to give back to their community. The Blues are no exception, as they make an annual visit to their local St. Louis Children’s Hospital, bringing presents and hoping to bring some smiles to the kids’ faces. Goalie Jordan Binnington looked like he was enjoying himself during the visit.
Though Binnington has missed a few practices recently, either for rest or to nurse a minor injury, it doesn’t look like he’ll be sidelined for very long. And fortunately for the kids at Children’s Hospital, he was more than healthy enough to get up and make the visit.
We here at the Hockey Writers would like to wish very happy holidays to everyone reading at home. Enjoy!
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.