Last night, Curtis McElhinney nearly had a shutout through two periods against the Red Wings, but had it broken when Robby Fabbri tipped a shot into the net to tie the game at one. That ended the Lightning’s chances at their first shutout of the season.
So far, only six teams this season have yet to post a shutout. The Lightning are joined by the Red Wings, Capitals, Penguins, Sharks, and Kings. There’s still plenty of time left in the season and all of these teams should be able to get at least one.
The last time a team went a full season without a shutout was the 2013-2014 Buffalo Sabres. Amazing how frequently they show up when looking into weird fun facts about bad performances this decade.
Of course, a lack of shutouts isn’t necessarily an indictment of a team’s goaltending, although the Lightning’s hasn’t been great this season. Ending the game allowing zero goals involves quite a bit of luck.
Sometimes that luck comes and goes in a matter of a split second, just like it did for the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. You may see John Tortorella in the headlines again today because he came down hard on NHL officiating and the league after his team were genuinely screwed over by referees who tried to cut corners in their jobs.
Torts: "Instead of resetting the clock, we have them tell our captain, 'We're not going to do it.' Toronto doesn't step in. The refs don't do their freaking job, and now we lose the game and we lose our goalie." #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) December 30, 2019
Let’s set the scene for this. It’s a 2-2 tie between the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets after the Blackhawks mount a comeback in the third and the two sides go into overtime. Zach Werenski scores on the power play with no time left on the clock in overtime so the game goes to a shootout. He just missed the buzzer.
However, when the penalty was called with less than a minute to go in OT, the referees chose not to put the 1.1 seconds between the referees whistle and where the game clock stopped back on the clock, despite being aware of the discrepancy. The game went into a shootout where goaltender Joonas Korpisalo injured himself on the first shot and the Blue Jackets lost.
I’ve been saving the best for last. Here’s Torts.
John Tortorella rips into the refs and the NHL review process before walking out of his press conference pic.twitter.com/1USZBloGv6— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 30, 2019
Torts is right, in every sense of the word. So often the referees choose to turn black and white decisions into judgement calls. Not calling penalties in the third period, “make up” calls, and things like this. Non-calls are as impactful as calling what is real, if not more. If one team is cheating and they are not penalised, they get an advantage. Simple.
One second might not have mattered if the referees were lucky. But they weren’t and they got caught. Sadly, with the amount of power the referees union holds in the league, they don’t have to answer to anyone or change in any way. This will blow over for them.
Anyway, I love that the headline for NHL dot com this morning is “Blue Jackets extend point streak to 10 games” with the subheader “Korpisalo injured during shootout; Lehner makes 31 saves in win.” Nailed the story there, boys.