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Sunday, May 02, 2021

The Skinny on All Those Shutouts

With Semyon Varlamov's trifecta of shutouts, the Isles now have 10 on the season, just one shy of the club record set in an 82-game schedule two seasons ago.

However, given this season is 26 games shorter, the Isles have already established a team record for percentage of games ending in a shutout. 

That leads to the question, where does this fall all-time?  The short answer is - pretty, pretty, pretty good.

In the expansion era, the record is 19.74 percentage of games, held by the 1971-72 Blackhawks.  

Here are the top 5 of the expansion era:

Team Season Shutouts Games Percentage
Chicago 1969-1970 15 76 19.74%
St. Louis 2011-2012 15 82 18.29%
Chicago 1971-1972 14 78 17.95%
Montreal 1976-1977 14 80 17.50%
New Jersey 2003-2004 14 82 17.07%

Where does this year's Islander team fit in?

Right now the Isles have recorded 10 shutouts in 51 games (19.61%); they are guaranteed to have a shutout in 17.86% of their 56 games (4th in the expansion era).  If they would record one shutout in the final five games, they would finish at 19.64% (2nd in the expansion era); they would need two shutouts in the final five to establish an NHL record for the expansion era.

The all-time record, by the way, is held up by 1928-29 Canadiens, who recorded 22 shutouts in 44 games (50%).  Following that season, the NHL instituted a major rule change to allow forward passes in the offensive zone.

What about Varlamov you might ask?  Among goalies with at least seven shutouts, only Tony Esposito and Brian Elliott have had a season where they recorded a shutout in as high of a percentage of appearances as Varly:

Player Team Season GP SO Percentage
Tony Esposito Chicago 1969-70 63 15 23.8%
Brian Elliott St. Louis 2011-12 38 9 23.7%
Semyon Varlamov ISLES 2020-21 33 7 21.2%
Glenn Hall St. Louis 1968-69 41 8 19.5%
Cristobal Huet Montreal 2005-06 36 7 19.4%
Harry Lumley Toronto 1953-54 69 13 18.8%
Tony Esposito Chicago 1971-72 48 9 18.8%

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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