A look at the first eight seasons of the shootout

Tuesday, 07.30.2013 / 9:00 AM
John Kreiser  - NHL.com Columnist

It's hard to believe, but the shootout has been with us for eight seasons -- and it's been used to decide more than 13 percent of regular-season games (1,235 of 9,330) since being adopted for the start of the 2005-06 season to settle games that are tied after overtime.

The stakes can be high: Philadelphia's run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final never would have happened if the Flyers hadn't beaten the New York Rangers in a shootout on the final day of the season. The New York Islanders made the postseason in 2006-07 by beating the New Jersey Devils in a shootout in their season finale. The San Jose Sharks were a playoff team last season largely because they went 8-4 in shootouts.

The shootout's limited history shows that some players and teams are better at it than others. Here's a look at some of the best of the shootout at age 8:

Perfection: Nine active players have scored on all of their shootout attempts, but none has taken more than one. Twenty players were perfect in the tiebreaker during the shortened 2012-13 season, though only four -- Andy McDonald, PA Parenteau, Matt Cullen and Alex Ovechkin -- had more than two attempts. McDonald was 4-for-4, while the others were 3-for-3.

On the other end of the spectrum, Nazem Kadri had an attempt in each of the Toronto Maple Leafs' five shootouts -- and missed them all, a big reason his team went 0-5. Future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne was one of three players who was 0-for-4.

Clarke MacArthur, now with the Ottawa Senators, is the least-effective active shooter in the tiebreaker; he was 0-for-3 last season and is 0-for-12 in his career. Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues (0-for-10) is the only other active player who has reached double digits in attempts without scoring at least once.

The best career shooter who has taken 10 or more shots is former Minnesota Wild defenseman Petteri Nummelin, who went 8-for-10 (.800) in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Among active players who have taken 15 or more shots, the best is Matt Hendricks, now with the Nashville Predators, who is 9-for-15 (60 percent). Raise the bar to 20 attempts and the only player who has connected on more than 50 percent is Islanders center Frans Nielsen (25-for-45, 55.6 percent).

The longest drought belongs to retired forward Trent Hunter, who missed 14 in a row while with the New York Islanders before scoring Nov. 11, 2009. The most successful streak shooter is Jussi Jokinen, now with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jokinen was with the Dallas Stars in 2005-06 when he scored on his first nine attempts.

Super stoppers: Several goaltenders have had excellent seasons in shootouts, but it's hard to envision anyone topping the performance Mathieu Garon turned in for the Edmonton Oilers in 2007-08.

Garon was only 16-18 in games decided in regulation in 2007-08, and lost his only overtime decision. But he was brilliant in shootouts, going 10-0 -- 5-0 at Rexall Place, 5-0 on the road -- while allowing two goals on 32 attempts, a .932 save percentage. He stopped all 14 attempts he faced in the five road wins.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick matched Garon's perfect 10-0 record in 2010-11, stopping 36 of 44 tries (.818). But Quick's magic has vanished since then -- he went 6-8 with a .660 save percentage in 2011-12, and he was 2-3 with a .526 save percentage last season (the League average was .642).

The next-best perfect season was Semyon Varlamov's 8-0 mark for the Colorado Avalanche in 2011-12. The 24-year-old stopped all but two of the 24 shots he faced. He was 1-1 and stopped four of six shots last season.

Garon, who played for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012-13, and Quick are tied for the single-season record in shootout wins with Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils and Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, both of whom had 10 in 2006-07.

Antti Niemi of the Sharks has gone 8-4 in each of the past two seasons and was the leader in shootout wins in 2012-13.

Turnabout: Brodeur is the winningest goaltender in NHL history, but he's no longer No. 1 in shootout victories.

Brodeur went 0-4 last season and allowed goals on six of 11 tries (a .455 save percentage), dropping him to third on the all-time wins list. Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers went 4-3 and moved into the top spot with 45 victories (45-30). Miller is second with 43 wins (43-27). Brodeur is third at 42-25.

Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury is fourth on the list with 39 victories, but he's No. 1 when it comes to winning percentage. Fleury has his 39 wins in 56 tries, giving him a .696 winning percentage. He barely edges Brodeur's backup of the last few seasons, Johan Hedberg, who's at .694 (25-11, 2-3 last season).

On the opposite end, Carolina's Cam Ward has the worst winning percentage of any goaltender who has been involved in 20 or more shootouts. Ward has lost 22 of his 33 tiebreakers, a .333 winning percentage. The inability to win shootouts has been the one flaw in longtime Calgary Flames star Miikka Kiprusoff's career -- his 37 losses (against 23 wins) are the most by any goaltender. Fellow Finn Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild is 21-32 lifetime, but his .562 save percentage is the worst of any goaltender who has faced at least 100 attempts -- he's the only goaltender to stop fewer than 60 percent of the attempts he's faced.

Practice makes perfect: Four former Atlantic Division teams (now part of the new Metropolitan Division) had more success than any other when it comes to the shootout. The Penguins lead all teams with a .654 winning percentage, while the Devils, Rangers and Islanders all are at .574 or better. All four have had plenty of practice -- they've taken part in at least 83 shootouts; the Rangers are tops with 94.

The other former Atlantic Division team, the Philadelphia Flyers, took part in only 67 shootouts and won 24, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the fewest in League history.

No home edge: When it comes to the shootout, most teams are better off playing on the road.

Home teams have a combined record of 590-645 (.478) in the shootout. That percentage drops to .472 (515-575) if you take away the 2005-06 season, when the NHL mandated that the home team had to shoot last. Home teams went 75-70 (.517) in the first season of the shootout; after the League gave them the option of shooting first, home teams didn't have a winning record again until last season, when they went 51-46 (.526).

New Jersey (32-18) is the only team with 30 or more victories at home. Pittsburgh (31-18), Colorado (30-15) and Dallas (30-15) have reached the 30-win mark on the road.

Shootouts at home have been a nightmare for the Calgary Flames -- they've won just six in 27 tries (.222). The Florida Panthers are 11-38 at home; those 38 losses are 10 more than the runner-up Boston Bruins.

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