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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Nabby's Numbers ... putting Evgeni Nabokov's season to date in historical perspective

I noticed this morning that Evgeni Nabokov has cracked into the Top 10 in both GAA and save percentage in the NHL.  Unusual for an Islander goaltender, not so much for Nabokov.

However, even by Nabokov's lofty (Hall-of-Fame consideration) standards, 2011-12 to this point has been a very special season.  Nabokov's save percentage is at 92.5%, higher than it has ever been in any of his previous seasons (Nabokov, who has played more NHL games than anyone other than Marty Brodeur since 2000-01, is 10th in save percentage in that era).  His 2.21 GAA is close to his career best (2.14 in 2007-08, when he led the league with 46 wins and was named to the all-NHL team).

Since replacing an injured Al Montoya on December 17th, his numbers are even better:  11-7-0, with a 1.99 GAA and a 93.1 save percentage.

In Islander lore, the numbers are staggering.  (I'll caution you that save percentage did not become an official stat until 1983-84) 

Here is the complete list of Islander goalies who have played at least 20 games and have had a goals against of 2.40 or less:

Player  Season     GP 
   W       L   T /O      SV%      GAA       SO 
Glenn Resch  1975-76  44 23 11 8
2.07 7
Evgeni Nabokov  2011-12  26 12 12 0 0.925 2.21 2
Glenn Resch  1976-77  46 26 13 6
2.28 4
Garth Snow  2002-03  43 16 17 5 0.918 2.31 1
Rick DiPietro  2003-04  50 23 18 5 0.911 2.36 5
Al Montoya  2010-11  20 9 5 5 0.921 2.39 1

One other number catches my eye -- the "0" in the OT/SO loss category.  The Islanders have gone to overtime 14 times this season and are 6-8.
Nabokov has been the goalie in 5 overtimes, and has not allowed a goal.  The Isles are 4-0 with Nabokov in nets (the fifth game was in Pittsburgh in October where DiPietro replaced Nabokov for the shootout).  This includes one overtime win and 3-0 in shootouts. On the other hand, Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya have combined for a 2-0-8 record in overtime/shootouts this season.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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