Today’s edition of The Hockey Writers’ Goalie News will recognize a couple of big shutouts, give an update on one of the Pacific Division’s top goaltenders and introduce you to a possible future NHL netminder.
Afternoon Hockey Provides the Doughnuts
Monday saw some rare weekday matinees as both the United States and Canada were celebrating holidays; Columbus Day and Thanksgiving respectively.
Before the season started, the Dallas Stars were picked by many to make the Stanley Cup playoffs while the many thought the Buffalo Sabres were due for another long season. The first two weeks have told a completely different story as the Sabres are 5-0-1 while the Stars have just three points in their first seven games of the season.
Carter Hutton added to the Stars’ misery by posting a 4-0 shutout. The 33-year-old made 25 saves to pick up his 12th career shutout and first in his 54 games with Buffalo.
“It’s nice, especially the last two games, we had two-goal leads and … gave up the lead,” Hutton said after leading the Sabres to their third straight win. “But to come out and get an early one, and then I think we just played. They had some chances, but at that point, we were kind of just flushing them out. It was a rock-solid game.
“I thought early on, it was a tight game and then again, they have a couple power plays and then our power play clicks. I think that’s the difference in the game. We get a power-play goal and we take it from there.”
Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Alex Stalock was on his game with a 26-save shutout of the Senators. Stalock’s performance could not have come at a better time as the Wild had dropped their first four games of the season heading into Monday’s tilt.
Midway through the first period, while the game was still scoreless, Stalock made this incredible save. Vladislav Namestnikov thought he had his third goal of the season as a rebound went right to his stick blade, but Stalock had other ideas.
“I’ve just been in practice working hard,” Stalock said after the sixth shutout of his career. “I know my role here, and that’s to go in and give the team a chance to win when I get the chance. It happened to be my night, and we played a great game. We talked about limiting minute breakdowns or two-minute breakdowns, that’s what’s kind of been costing us all year. I think, tonight, we didn’t have one lull where we broke down and gave them momentum.”
Markstrom Granted a Leave of Absence
There is very little doubt that one of the biggest keys to the success of the Vancouver Canucks this season is goaltender Jacob Markstrom. He is coming off a great two-year stretch that saw him play in 60 games each season and post a 2.74 goals-against average (GAA) and a .912 save percentage (save %). He picked up right where he left off with a 2.33 GAA and .926 save % in his first four starts of the season.
The Canucks will have to do without their number one goaltender for the next couple of games. The team announced on Monday that they have granted Markstrom a leave of absence to tend to a family matter.
He will miss Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings as well as Friday’s clast with the St. Louis Blues. He is expected to be back with the team this weekend and should be back in the crease when they take on the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
The team recalled former Boston Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre from the Utica Comets in the American Hockey League. He will serve as Thatcher Demko’s backup.
Youngster Shining in the OHL
For the first time in the 2019-20 season, the Ontario Hockey League gave their “On the Run” Player of the Week award to a goaltender. Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack took home the honor after going 3-0 last week with a 2.59 GAA and .927 save percentage.
He made 26 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping five of six shootout attempts in a win over Kitchener Rangers on Wednesday. He made a career-high 47 saves in a victory at the London Knights on Friday. He finished off his week on Saturday with a 28-save performance in 4-1 win over the Soo Greyhounds.
Guzda, a native of Knoxville, TN, stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 210 pounds. He is in his third season with the Sound Attack and is eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft after going undrafted last June.