Sergei Bobrovsky, Braden Holtby and Carey Price Image by: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images, Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
From one goalie’s historic three-season run to another netminder’s pile of losses last year, here are five numbers about the NHL’s masked men that are worth mulling over:
131: Number of victories over the past three seasons by Capitals netminder Braden Holtby, who has turned in consecutive campaigns of 41, 48 and 42 wins. It’s the second-highest number of victories in a three-year span in league history, behind only Martin Brodeur, the NHL’s all-time wins leader. Brodeur won 135 games from 2005-06 through ’07-08, including 48 in 2006-07, which is tied with Holtby’s output in 2015-16 for the most wins in a single season. The challenge for Holtby and the Caps, of course, is to parlay their winning ways in the regular season into playoff success. (Lest we forget, Evgeni Nabokov also won 131 games over a three-year span, racking up seasons of 46, 41 and 44 wins with San Jose from 2007-08 through ’09-10.)
73: Number of games played by Cam Talbot in his first season as the Oilers starter in 2016-17. No goalie has appeared in more games in a single season since the Carolina Hurricanes’ Cam Ward got into 74 contests in 2010-11. The Oilers would likely prefer Talbot play closer to 60-65 games, but given that backup Lauren Broissoit has just 10 career NHL starts, the pressure will be on Talbot to stay healthy and duplicate his breakout campaign with another superlative season.
31: Number of losses last season by former Avs backup goalie Calvin Pickard, the most by any NHL netminder in 2016-17. Pickard ended up playing 50 games in 2016-17 – with a 15-31-2 record -- due to starter Semyon Varlamov’s injuries and ineffectiveness. Despite the big number of defeats, Pickard was better than Varlamov in both goals-against average (2.98 vs. 3.38) and save percentage (.904 vs. 898). At least last year’s barrage in Colorado should help prepare Pickard for what he faces in Vegas, where it’s expected he’ll serve as Marc-Andre Fleury’s trusty No. 2.
6: Number of shootout wins by Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, who went 6-0 in the goalie-vs.-shooter showdown. No goalie won more shootouts in 2016-17 (or lost fewer). It’s a good thing Mrazek performed so well in the shootout. Otherwise, he won just 12 of 42 decisions, ceding the starting job to Jimmy Howard in the process.
.931: Save percentage of Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who took home his second career Vezina Trophy as a result. Only two goalies in NHL history have recorded a higher save percentange while playing at least as many games as Bobrovsky did last season (63): Dominik Hasek (.937 save percentage in 64 games in 1998-99) and Carey Price (.933 save percentage in 66 games in 2014-15).