It's an awfully impressive thing for the San Jose Sharks that Thursday night's 4-2 win over the L.A. Kings marked Evgeni Nabokov's 30th win of the season and raises the possibility that he'll break Martin Brodeur's single-season win record for an NHL goalie.
But it's a more awfully impressive thing for the NHL that three other goalies are also on pace, or close, to breaking that same record this season. And only one guy gets to lay claim to the record distinction.
It's like Mark McGuire-vs.-Sammy Sosa all over again, except it's four guys, without steroids, and no obnoxious use of the term "dinger."
Nabokov maintained nice, round numbers last night by grabbing 30 saves for his 30th win. At his current pace, "The Nabbonator" would finish the season with 45 wins. That won't set the record, but the Sharks have the talent to be even more successful here in the season's second half. The all-time record for most wins by a goalie in a single season belongs to the currently banged-up Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils, who won 48 games playing goalie last year. Though there is some skepticism about Brodeur's claim to the record, particularly among the individuals responsible for a hockey blog entitled "Brodeur Is A Fraud."
But the goalie win derby this season seems likely to break Brodeur's record, and Nabokov isn't even in the lead. The Calgary Flames' sublime Mikka Kuprisoff has 34 wins at this point (four ahead of Nabokov), and Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Dallas' Marty Turco are just a couple half-steps behind Nabby with 28 wins apiece.
"The Nabbonator" is currently fourth on the single-season goalie win list, with 46 wins lat year.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who needed a calculator to figure out how many games Evgeni Nabokov would win this year at current pace.