Wednesday, March 18, 2015

10 of the NHL's strangest goaltending records

Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond has become one of the season’s best stories. The 27-year-old rookie has come out of nowhere to post one of the best starts to an NHL career we’ve ever seen. After last night’s 2-1 overtime win over the Hurricanes, Hammond now boasts a career record of 11-0-1, and has tied Frank Brimsek’s record by starting his career with 12 straight games allowing two goals or fewer.

Now that Hammond has started writing his name in the record book, he’s in some elite company. When it comes to goaltending records, most fans know the basics. It’s Martin Brodeur for regular-season wins and shutouts. Patrick Roy for playoff wins. And, of course, Glenn Hall’s 502 consecutive games, which stands as probably the most unbreakable record in all of pro sports.

Those records are fun, but as regular readers know, I like to go a little more obscure. So today, in honor of Hammond’s miracle run, let’s take a look at 10 of the more unusual goaltending marks in the NHL record book.

Most Games Without a Loss at the Start of a Career: 16

This is one of the records that Hammond is chasing, kind of, or maybe not, since in today’s NHL an overtime or shootout loss only sort of counts. But in any event, Senators fans hoping that they’ve somehow stumbled on the next Ken Dryden probably won’t be thrilled to be reminded of the man who once started his career by going 16 games without losing: Patrick Lalime.

Lalime set the record with the Penguins in 1997, topping the 14-game mark held by Dryden and Ross Brooks. He cooled off, but still ended the season with an impressive 21-12-2 record, and finished fifth in rookie of the year voting. Oddly enough, that would be the end of his time in Pittsburgh, and his NHL action at all for more than two years. He finally returned to the league in 1999 as a member of the Senators.

It was during his time in Ottawa that Lalime established a reputation as a solid regular-season goalie who couldn’t win the big game in the playoffs. We’ve covered this before, but it’s worth repeating here: that reputation is nonsense, because Lalime had excellent playoff numbers. But a handful of bad games, including one memorable Game 7 meltdown against the Maple Leafs, sealed his fate.

Lalime ended up playing for five teams over 12 seasons, earning an even 200 regular-season wins. Andrew Hammond would probably be thrilled with that sort of career, even if it’s not quite Drydenesque. In any event, Hammond can at least know that Lalime is rooting for him.

Most Penalty Minutes in a Season: 113

Goalies occasionally get mixed up in physical play, and every now and then they’ll even drop the gloves and square off. But only one goaltender in NHL history has ever cracked the 100-plus PIM mark, and you’ll never guess who it was.

Wait, did literally everyone just guess Ron Hextall? OK, in that case everyone is right.

Hextall topped the century mark for three straight years in the late ’80s, peaking with 113 PIMs in 1988-89. Those seasons give Hextall the top three spots on the all-time list, and while he calmed down in later years, his name still appears three more times in the top 25. More impressively, his 1988-89 total doesn’t even include his most famous meltdown from that season, since that occurred during the playoffs.

The record for most PIMs in a season by a goalie who wasn’t Ron Hextall is 70 minutes, and the owner of that mark actually is a bit of a surprise. It’s not a noted crease defender like Billy Smith or Eddie Belfour, or a slugger like Sean Burke, Ray Emery, or even Patrick Roy. No, the non-Hextall title goes to Tom Barrasso, who set the mark during a 1988-89 split between those oddball Buffalo Sabres and the Penguins.

Most Points Scored in a Game: 3

Hey, speaking of guys getting KO’d by Ron Hextall

>> Read the full post on Grantland

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