The Noon Number: 969

969.

Nikolai Khabibulin's save percentage. Seriously. The goaltender who is going up against the Vancouver Canucks tonight is the same goaltender who registered an .890 last season and would have played himself right to the Russian League if he didn't have pedigree.

And by "pedigree" we mean "winning a Stanley Cup in Seven Games as a goaltender for the team with the most explosive pre-lockout offense".

969. Even early in the season, that's insane. He has 93 saves on 96 shots, and is a perfect 18-for-18 at even strength on the penalty kill.

I'm going to toss out a wild guess and suggest that Khabibulin won't finish the regular season in the 960s, or in the 930s. The 920s may be even a stretch, since Khabibulin's only managed that twice in his career: 1999 and 2002.

Really, he's not a good goaltender, who's played exceptionally well at even strength and may have gotten a tad lucky on the penalty kill. Realistically, though, he's not a goalie who will continue to play at this level. Maybe the snake-bitten David Booth puts an end to his perfect PK streak.

Personal note: Anybody remember listening to the radio call of this game? I remember listening to the radio call of that game. Damn Khabibulin. Never trusted him and he's always seemed to come up big against the Canucks, like in the second round in 2009. He does, however, have a career .888 save percentage against Vancouver in 32 games, so there's at least that.

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