The Dallas Stars
have the best winning percentage of any team during the first three seasons in which the NHL has used the shootout -- .765, with 26 victories in 34 tries. Dallas won 12 of 13 decisions in 2005-06, went 9-4 in 2006-07 and was 5-3 last season, making the Stars one of the few teams to have a winning record in each season of the shootout.
The Stars have had some excellent shooters during those three seasons, including center Jussi Jokinen
and defenseman Sergei Zubov
, two of the NHL's most prolific shootout scorers. But also they've benefitted by having Marty Turco
in goal all three seasons.
Turco has faced 93 shootout attempts and stopped 67 of them, a .720 save percentage that's well above the League average of .671. He's won 19 of 27 decisions, including 8 apiece in 2005-06 and 2006-07 before splitting 6 shootouts last season.
Turco's .704 winning percentage is the best of any goaltender who's taken part in 20 or more shootouts, and his 19 victories are second to New Jersey's Martin Brodeur
, who has 26 wins but has been involved in 39 shootouts, 12 more than Turco.
Turco isn't the only Western Conference goaltender who has enjoyed significant success in the shootout:
Mathieu Garon, Edmonton Oilers --
Garon was a good-but-not-great 5-4 in shootouts before 2007-08, when he enjoyed the best season any netminder has had in the shootout's three seasons. Garon won all 10 shootouts he played in, surrendering only 2 goals on 32 attempts, a .938 save percentage that's the best single-season mark in the shootout's brief history. Garon's proficiency at shootouts was a key reason for the Oilers' run at a playoff berth.
For his career, Garon is now 15-4 with an .818 save percentage in 19 games, and he enters the season with a string of 14 consecutive saves, by far the longest active streak.
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks --
Luongo is an All-Star for his play during regulation and overtime, but he's also performed well in shootouts, despite a career win-loss record of 15-15. Luongo was involved in a League-high 14 shootouts last season, going 6-8 despite a .722 save percentage. For his career in Florida and Vancouver, he's stopped 80 of 112 attempts, a well-above-average .714 success rate that belies his .500 record.
Cristobal Huet, Chicago Blackhawks --
Chicago signed Huet to a long-term contract after a terrific season with Montreal and Washington that included a solid performance in shootouts. Huet went 4-3 with an excellent .722 save percentage, and will give Chicago a big boost if he can match those figures in 2008-09; the Blackhawks are 13-17 all-time in shootouts and have a.644 save percentage.
Manny Legace, St. Louis Blues --
No NHL goaltender got less help from his team's offense than Legace, as the Blues scored just five goals in eight shootouts last season. Legace went 2-3 in five of those games despite allowing just 4 goals in 17 attempts for a .765 save percentage. For his career, he's 9-8 and has stopped 69.5 percent of opposing shooters. Backup Hannu Toivonen
wasn't any luckier: He was 1-2 despite stopping 7 of 9 shots in the Blues' other three shootouts.