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Jacob Markstrom and the search for his elusive first shutout

Jacob Markstrom and the search for his elusive first shutout

Jacob Markstrom is a legit NHL goaltender. It took him a bit longer than expected to reach this point, but by various measures, he’s somewhere in between a below-average starter or above-average backup.

He’s a veteran of 109 NHL games played. The 27-year-old Swede has started 96 of those games. That’s a pretty solid resume of NHL action – but there’s one thing that’s still missing.

Jacob Markstrom has never had an NHL shutout.

The former “best goaltender outside of the NHL” had no problem accomplishing the feat at his other stops. He had 12 shutouts during his career with Brynas, 5 in the AHL with Rochester and San Antonio. Heck, he even posted a shutout with Sweden at the 2010 World Championship.

Most recent professional shutout: February 1st, 2013 vs Rockford (AHL)

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His most recent shutout in a professional hockey league game came on February 1st, 2013 in a game vs the Rockford IceHogs. He made 30 saves in a 1-0 win, and was named first star for his efforts.

Interesting Note: In that game, the ice was tinted pink for San Antonio’s “Pink in the Rink” night for breast cancer awareness.

Markstrom has come pretty close to getting a shutout in the NHL. Just this past season, he had a shutout while heading into the third period of two games.

Close Call #1: October 20th, 2016 vs Buffalo

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In his first start on October 20th, 2016 vs Buffalo, he led the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 victory on home ice. He stopped 26 of the 27 shots that he faced, but his shutout bid was eventually broken by Nick Baptiste with 8:37 to go in the final frame. The goal was actually kicked into the goal by defenceman Alex Edler, and was initially waved off by the officials. It counted after review, spoiling the closest opportunity he would have of shutting an opponent out.

Close Call #2: November 19th, 2016

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His next chance came approximately one month later, on November 19th, 2016. Markstrom got the start against the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Canucks held a commanding 3-0 lead heading to the third period. Then the wheels fell off.

Artemi Panarin scored 2:53 into the 3rd, and Vinnie Hinostroza quickly followed only 1:13 later to cut the lead to 3-2. Ryan Hartman would tie it up with just under 5 minutes to play, and Marian Hossa won it in overtime to cap to comeback. It was a demoralizing loss, and another crushing blow to Markstrom’s hopes of ever recording an NHL shutout.

He wouldn’t take another shutout to the third period in any other game over the course of the 2016-17 season.

Now the question is, where does this shutout futility rank all-time in NHL history?

Markstrom is second all-time for NHL games played without recording a shutout. He trails only Pokey Reddick by 23 games for the number one spot. The only other active goaltender with 50 or more games played without a shutout is Kevin Poulin, who currently plays in the KHL.

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With the recent departure of Ryan Miller, and the signing of Anders Nilsson, Markstrom should be receiving quite a few starts this upcoming season. Will he record his first shutout before his 24th game? Will he record a shutout at all? It’s certainly a fun storyline to keep an eye on for a team that may be lacking them heading into next season.

About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario with the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio and work with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.