#Anders Nilsson posted a 32-save shutout last night in his first appearance for the #Vancouver Canucks. In looking at Nilsson's shutout of the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, the biggest mistake would be to dismiss it as a one-off event. While many might find the result a bit surprising, those in the know won't be surprised at all. When a 25-game minimum for appearances is applied to last season, Nilsson finished among the upper echelon of goaltenders in terms of save percentage. His .923 mark was the same as Carey Price's, Devan Dubnyk's, and Matt Murray's.

Nilsson, a new Canuck this season, played for the Buffalo Sabres in 2016/17 and his record didn't really reflect how well he played.

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He went just 10-10-4 for the struggling Buffalo team, one that finished second to last in the Eastern Conference. But a 10-10 regulation-time record wasn't bad given that the Sabres went 33-37 in regulation overall. If Nilsson continues his sharp goaltending in 2017/18 then the Canucks will have to give him more playing time than what he has received so far in his career.

In fact, the argument could be made that the Canucks have underplayed him already. While Nilsson did post a strong save percentage last season he only appeared in 26 games. Some will say that it's a knock against him, but arguably it was just a knock against his coaches. The Canucks might relegate themselves to non-contenders for the playoffs if they take the same approach.

Looking back on Nilsson's season in Buffalo

Nilsson started 23 games last season as the back-up goaltender for Robin Lehner, a player who started in 58 games in 2016/17.

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Neither goalie was really the problem in Buffalo as Lehner posted a good .920 save percentage. Buffalo's skaters yielded a ton of shots last season and Lehner faced the most shots in the league when a 60-game maximum appearance is applied.

One question with Buffalo last season is why didn't Lehner have his playing time cut back? He certainly didn't play poorly, but if Buffalo had cut his starts back by 10% and had increased Nilsson's to offset that then they would have had a fresher No. 1 goalie for many of his other starts. Meanwhile, Nilsson starting nearly 30 games last season should not have been too much of a work load. The Sabres' coaching blundered there and the Canucks shouldn't make the same mistake, especially given that Jacob Markstrom is a dubious pick as a No. 1 goaltender.

Markstrom and Nilsson should platoon

Markstrom has been around for a while now, but his regulation-time record is just 37-55 with a .905 career save percentage. With a No. 1 goaltender like that and low expectations facing the Canucks' franchise the smart thing to do would be to take Nilsson's performance from last season at face value.

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The Canucks shouldn't be looking at their current goaltending situation as the No. 1 and No. 2 kind of deal that you find with nearly all NHL teams. What the Canucks should be doing is looking at their situation as a straight-up platooning scenario: Markstrom starts about 50% of the time and Nilsson starts about 50% of the time. If Nilsson continues to perform as he has for over a season now then expectations for Vancouver can increase. Meanwhile, it could be that Markstrom improves as he plays his games with more rest.

Getting back to Nilsson's shutout, the Senators had just rolled through western Canada with three wins and 15 goals in those wins. The Sens did the most scoring damage to Calgary and Edmonton, lighting up those teams' arenas to the tune of 12 goals. Nilsson, in shutting out Ottawa in their own rink, cooled off the hottest scoring team in the league.

Again, there will be those that say that it was just one game, but those in the know saw Buffalo's back-up face 857 shots in 26 games last season. That's a ton of shots for the amount of games and it means that Nilsson is ready for a promotion. If the Canucks are playing for a draft pick then they should stick with Markstrom as their No. 1. If they are interested in a wild card then seeing what happens if Nilsson gets more starts is the way to go.