How do they do it? How do the NHL’s top goaltenders seem to know exactly where the puck is headed? How do they manage the split-second twists and turns needed to repel goals that seem inevitable?
However they accomplish their saves, NHL goalies always give spectators something to cheer. And these five goalies made saves this season that were especially cheer-worthy.
Saves are never more dramatic than when they occur in overtime. On January 4, the Montreal Canadiens faced the Tampa Bay Lightning. For a brief moment, the Canadiens’ Carey Price left his goal open. When he saw the puck was headed for his net, he rolled over on his back and stuck his leg straight out to stop it with his foot. It’s a move worth watching again and again.
Here’s another breathtaking overtime save from the Montreal Canadiens, this time courtesy of the gifted Charlie Lindgren. It happened on February 26. Charlie was outside his crease when the Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux made an excellent shot. To prevent the goal, Charlie dove flat on his face.
Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets turned in some stunning performances this year, and this save epitomizes his talent. On November 14, Derek Stepan of the Arizona Coyotes raced across the ice to make his shot; the puck whizzed through the air toward the goal only to be halted by Connor’s glove. He caught it like a baseball while collapsing to a seated position.
Since he started playing pro hockey in 2005, Jimmy Howard has made a career out of remarkable saves. Nevertheless, this Detroit Red Winger outdid himself with this maneuver on February 25. Early on in the game, the New York Rangers’ Pavel Buchnevich passed to Chris Kreider, who responded with a super-fast slapshot toward the back of the net. Jimmy simply reached out and grabbed the puck. The look of disbelief on Chris’ face said it all.
On February 24, Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning held off a shot from the Montreal Canadiens’ Charles Hudon with a rare behind-the-back action. After skating backward, he swung his left hand behind him and stopped the puck with it. Believe it or not, it was the second behind-the-back block Andrei made that month.
In sum, though the 2017-18 NHL season is winding down, these saves should linger in fans’ memories for a long time to come.
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