clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Martin Brodeur's Stats in Games After Shutouts Post-Lockout

The best possible result for a goaltender in hockey is a big fat zero on the scoreboard.  No goals allowed. Every shot on net was saved; while all other attempts were either missed, blocked, or hit the post.  It is perfection from a shot-stopping standpoint; a goalie can't do better than 100% in a given game. They don't happen all that often. The current king of shutouts in the NHL, Martin Brodeur, earned his 112th shutout last night in his 1,083rd game.  That 10.3% of all of the games he ever played resulted in a clean sheet is astounding, while putting in perspective how rare they can.

In Tom's recap of the New Jersey Devils' 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens last night, ILWT user poopydoodie11 had this short comment.

well now that that game is over, do you think hedberg will play on saturday. ive heard from some fans that marty always plays bad after a shutout.

As an aside, the "some say" is always a fool's game when it comes to arguments.  You can take any bizarre, non-factual, or outrageous claim, apply that "some fans" or "some believe" or a variation thereof state it and it becomes that much harder to dissuade.  

However, this is an interesting claim.  How does Martin Brodeur do in the games after he blanks the opposition?  I looked at all of the games where Brodeur didn't give up a goal - playoff and regular season - since the lockout.  What I found is that there is some truth to what poopydoodie heard from, well, whoever.   Please continue after the jump to see Brodeur's post-shutout game stats, and some possible guesses as to why they are what they are.

Thanks to, their game log tracks the stats of a player game-by-game.  In the six (five completed, one on-going) seasons since the lockout, Brodeur has earned 3 playoff shutouts and 37 regular season shutouts.   Here's how Brodeur did in those 40 post-shutout games.

2005-2010 Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 40 20 16 4 99 71 27 1076 977 .908 4

These aren't great stats per se.  It's not a completely winning record; and a save percentage of 90.8% really isn't something to praise.  Brodeur did manage to pull off 4 shutouts after having a game where he let no goals in. (Note: This includes the February 26, 2009 shutout where Brodeur came back from injury, since, well, he let no goals in on the night of his injury.)  That said, he's not always playing horrible after picking up a shutout.

However, if this is broken down by season, then it's clearer that Brodeur's poor performances in games after shutouts is a more recent phenomenon.

2010-2011 Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 1 0 1 0 3 2 1 22 19 .864 0
2009-2010 Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 9 3 6 0 26 20 6 217 191 .880 1
2008-2009 Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 7 4 3 0 20 13 7 197 177 .899 1
2007-2008 Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 4 4
0 0 6 4 2 112 106 .946 0
2006-2007 Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 13 5 5 3 32 22 9 367 335 .912 1
2005-2006 Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 6 4 1 1 12 10 2 161 149 .926 1

Now, this is something.  Brodeur did poorly last season after his shutouts, which included the one game out of 40 where he got pulled (1/8/2010 - 4 saves out of 7 against Tampa Bay, a.k.a. The Lights Out Game).  2008-09 and 2006-07 weren't good either.  Yet, in 2005-06 and 2007-08, Brodeur played very well in games after shutouts.  Since the stats just after shutouts in the most recent full season were so bad, I can see why poopydoodie's associates felt Brodeur was "always" bad in games after shutouts.

Incidentally, Brodeur put up similar stats both in home and away games after shutouts.

Home Game Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 22 12 7 3 51 37 14 556 505 .908 3
Away Game Post Shutout Martin Brodeur 18 8 9 1 48 34 13 520 472 .908 1

The Devils did put up a better record at home, and three shutouts look swell too.   However, the save percentage indicates that Brodeur played similarly regardless of results.  I've rounded up the save percentages here, but the home game save percentage was 90.83% and away game save percentage was 90.77%.  Not exactly a large difference between home and away games after shutouts.

This raises two questions: First, what will happen when Brodeur starts his next game, which will probably be on Sunday in Manhattan?  The game against Colorado last week didn't go so well, but that's only one game.  It could be something similar to 2009-10 or perhaps not.  Essentially, I don't know.   Second, and more importantly, why is there a drop off after games with shutouts?

(A possible third question: Would I worry if he has a bad game after a shutout?  No more than if he has a bad game regardless of how he did in the prior game, which isn't much.  Throughout his career, Brodeur has always came out ahead.  But that's just my personal opinion.)

Let's go back to the Montreal recap: Tom didn't just praise Brodeur but also the Devils for their defensive performance in their own zone. That while they were outshot, they got a lot of blocks (21 officially), and there were few times where Brodeur was hung out to dry.  For any attempt at a shutout, the skaters in front of the goaltender must help out their goaltender enough; and based on the recap, the Devils did just that.

That's important to point out and I'm glad Tom gave the defense their due.  A goaltender can only do so much by himself.  For example, he can't be expected to see through players, he can't do anything about a shot on his flank, and if a goalie stops a shot that was deflected or re-directed, a save would be really impressive and improbable given the short reaction time allowed.  The shooter could even put up a ridiculous, nigh-impossible-to-stop shot, or the puck can take a bad bounce that just gets in somehow.   After all, just one, uncontrollable fluke can undo all the work put into getting a shutout, much less a win.

This isn't a new reality, it was the main subject to this past summer's casual qualitative project in looking at all 183 goals Brodeur allowed in the NHL last season.  One of the main findings was that only 20.77% of the 183 goals allowed by Brodeur in 2009-10 were soft ones that he could have and should have stopped.   As tempting as it is to fault the goalie for any goal allowed, the reality is that the vast majority of goals allowed (79.23% last season) weren't Brodeur's sole fault.   It backs up the point that while the job is to stop shots, the goaltender rarely does it all.

Therefore, I cannot just look at these stats and immediately conclude that Brodeur was bad in most  or all of these 40 games.   I'm sure he was in some of them. He could have been hung out to dry in some of those games by the guys in front of him.  While not after a shutout, last Saturday's 4-1 loss to Boston was an excellent example of a goalie getting lit up regardless of how well he performed.  That said, the stats definitely suggest he had some stinkers among the 40 - I am not arguing he was just fine in them.  That's just as unlikely as being bad in all of them.  It could even be a bit of both, in fact.

My main point, if nothing else, is that a shutout isn't just a major accomplishment for the goaltender, but the team as a whole.  The goalie makes the saves, and the skaters clean up messes (e.g. loose pucks, rebounds, recovering after mistakes, covering open guys, etc.) to prevent the opposition from striking where the goalie cannot possibly stop or would have difficulty to make a save.   A goalie can "step up" and play well, but still come away without a shutout or even a loss if the team isn't providing the needed support.  The Devils definitely know this, as indicated in this post-game report by Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice.

Anyway, feel free to look at the numbers and come to your own conclusion. Please share what you feel about these stats and goaltender performances after shutouts.   Thanks to poopydoodie11 and what he hears in coming up with the claim to begin with; and thank you for reading.  I will let this post-game quote by Martin Brodeur, reported by Gulitti, serve as a last word (emphasis mine):

"It’s been six years that every time I lose a game it’s the end of me, so it’s not a big deal" Brodeur said. "I don’t hear it, but my friends do, my family does and I think it’s tougher on them than it is on me. It is what it is. I try to play as good as I can every night and there’s nights that like today and there’s nights that I play like I played against Colorado (a 3-2 loss on Friday in which he gave up three goals on 22 shots). I try to get more of the better games more often."