Jonathan Kozub

Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub

Braden Holtby‘s 35-stop afternoon in Manitoba puts him in a three-way tie in shutouts (3) alongside Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Phoenix’s Mike Smith.

I guess the first thing I should say is that shutouts, while awesome, are kind of a silly way to evaluate a goalie. Goalies don’t control the number of shots they face, just the percentage of that number they stop. That in mind, I thought we’d do a quick comparison of how these guys came to be the league’s shutout leaders.

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Sad Like a Country Song, Preds beat Caps 3-1

 John Russell

(Photo credit: John Russell)

The Washington Capitals began their circuit of North America with a stop in Nashville with their Predators. With Mike Green still ailing and a shooting drought in their immediate past, the Caps had something to prove.

After more than 55 minutes of play, Troy Brouwer finally beat Pekka Rinne using a defender for a screen. Like 0.874325 seconds later, Shea Weber fed Martin Erat east-west to tie it back up. With 24 seconds left, Colin Wilson beat a stickless John Erskine and a sucked-out Vokoun to make it 2-1. Backstrom lost a faceoff to give Weber an empty netter 5 seconds later. Preds beat Caps 3-1.

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Fancystats Crash the ESPN Mock Draft

Anze Kopitar

Anze Kopitar celebrates a goal last year against the Blackhawks. (Photo credit: Harry How)

Editor’s note: You can win a 1-year subscription to ESPN Insider and a $25 gift certificate to Front Page VA by guessing Neil’s first two draft picks tonight. Check out the details on our Facebook page.

As part of ESPN.com’s NHL family, I was invited to participate in their fantasy hockey draft this past Tuesday. Just me and guys like Craig Custance, John Buccigross, and Scott Cullen.

No pressure.

Victoria Matiash has already given a bird’s eye view of the draft, but I thought I would run through my thought process on various picks and give you some ideas for your fantasy draft. Plus, you can see how I do for the season because we are making the results public.

Here were the ground rules for the draft:

Participants included, in original order, Craig Custance, Tristan Cockcroft, Tim Kavanagh, John Buccigross, Pierre Becquey, Michael Hume, Victoria Matiash, Neil Greenberg, Sean Allen and Scott Cullen. Categories include goals, assists, power-play points, plus/minus, penalty minutes, shots on goal and average time on ice for skaters and wins, save percentage and goals-against average for goaltenders. Slots to fill include nine forwards, five defensemen, one “utility” skater, two goaltenders and a five-man bench.

My philosophy was simple: grab young, healthy, talented players with upside. Let others worry if Patrick Kane would be healthy or if Sergei Kostitsyn can once again score 20 goals on less than 100 shots.

I had the eight pick. With my editor Mike Hume drafting before me (he knows which players I fancy) and Cullen having back-to-back picks behind me I knew I had to make strategic decisions.

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