They say you should save the best for last. Well, if I had to win one game, there is only one man I would call upon—the one they call Saint, Mr. Captain Clutch himself, No. 33 Patrick Roy.
Because when it comes to playing big when big really matters. nobody compares to Roy. His unprecedented three Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP constitute the prime evidence of my case. No other player has won the Conn Smythe three times.
No. Not even Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux
During the spring of 1986, a little known goalie from Saint-Foy, Quebec appeared in goal for the Montreal Canadiens and led the team on a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup finals.
At just 20 years of age, Roy became the youngest player ever to win the Conn Smythe trophy.
Roy won the Vezina trophy three times while playing for the Canadiens, and he appeared in the NHL All-Star game 11 times. He won two Stanley Cup Championships with the Canadiens and two with the Colorado Avalanche.
He holds the record for career playoff wins with 151 and career playoff shutouts with 23. Like I said, Mr. Clutch.
In 1992-'93 he backstopped the Habs as they set a remarkable record that may never be broken—10 consecutive overtime wins en route to the Stanley Cup Championship.
After the debacle that occurred on Dec. 2, 1995 against the Detroit Red Wings, Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. His will to win rejuvenated by the move, Roy bounced back quickly by backstopping the Avalanche to their first Stanley Cup that same season.
The 2001 Stanley Cup final between the Avalanche and the New Jersey Devils featured a showdown between Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur. In the end, Roy outshined Brodeur as the Avalanche beat the Devils in seven games.
Patrick Roy was named the winner of the Conn Smythe trophy for the third time in his career. He posted two shut outs in the seven game series and gave up just 10 goals. Brodeur sacrificed 19.
Roy's jersey has been retired by both the Colorado Avalanche and the Montreal Canadiens. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 2004, Roy was voted greatest goaltender in NHL history by a panel of 41 sports writers, coupled with a simultaneous fan poll.
How does Roy compare to some of the other greats who were also his contemporaries? He has never won the Hart Trophy or as many Vezina Trophies as Dominik Hasek—but then again, Hasek has never won the Conn Smythe trophy.
Roy's record for most career regular season wins was broken by Martin Brodeur, but Marty never really owned the postseason the way Roy did time and time again.
St. Patrick gets my vote. He'll always be the best of the best in my eyes.