When Anders Nilsson stopped all 29 shots he faced during Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild, it was remarkable for a couple reasons. Firstly, posting two shutouts in just three starts is pretty impressive. Secondly, in his only other start, Nilsson was pulled after less than 11 minutes.
It must have been tough for Jacob Markstrom to watch Nilsson’s two shutouts from the bench, not because Markstrom is battling Nilsson for the number one job with the Canucks, but because Markstrom has yet to post a single shutout in his career.
Markstrom has been in the NHL for parts of eight seasons and played in 116 games; he’s allowed at least one goal in every single game that he’s started. That’s 102 starts without a shutout.
He came closest in two back-to-back games early in his career with the Florida Panthers. During the 2013-14 season, he took shutouts into the third period in two games against the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers in mid-March. In both, he gave up late goals to spoil his shutout bid. The second game, against the Rangers, must have been particularly galling: he made 44 saves, but just couldn’t close out the shutout.
He had another close call last season with the Canucks, taking a shutout into the third period against the Sabres in October. The shutout bid ended halfway through the third on a goal from Nicholas Baptiste. Making it particularly painful, it was really an own goal, bouncing off Jack Skille before getting accidentally kicked in by Alex Edler. That has to be one of the most painful ways to lose a shutout.
His shutout-less 116 games is bringing him close to an ignominious NHL record: most games played by a goaltender without a shutout.
The record is held by Eldon “Pokey” Reddick, who boasted not only an amazing nickname, but also a sick jheri curl. Reddick played 132 NHL games without posting a single shutout and, according to Sean “Down Goes Brown” McIndoe, he gave up just one goal just three times in his career.
Markstrom is already second on the list of goaltenders with the longest shutout-less streak to start an NHL career. He’s well past the goaltender in third, Jim Hrivnak, who played 85 games without a shutout.
Markstrom is just 16 games away from tying Pokey Reddick’s record. Given the Canucks goaltending situation, he’s sure to play in that many games. Can he post a shutout in that time? If not, he’ll be in the NHL record books.