The 10 Most Miraculous Saves from the 2013 NHL Season
It's the most important position in the NHL.
Goaltenders are often asked to stop the best shooters in the world when the game is on the line with their quickness, reactions, anticipation and strength.
When a goalie makes that tough save, it often gives his team a lift that can lead to a goal or a great scoring attempt by his team.
However, when a goalie makes a miraculous save, it often causes the shooter to shake his head in disbelief. Viewing that save repeatedly will not make it any easier to believe.
Here's a look at NHL goalies at their best as they make the 10 most miraculous saves of the year.
(We know this is subjective and there may be many more worthy saves. Feel free to include your own links.)
Lundqvist Robs Krejci
It didn't take long for goaltenders to start coming up with miracle saves.
Henrik Lundqvist, the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy winner, picked up right where he left off.
Lundqvist was under attack in the New York Rangers' opening game against the Bruins in Boston. The Bruins were firing on all cylinders and David Krejci had a remarkable opportunity.
Krejci took a cross-ice pass that found him standing alone on the right side of the net. Lundqvist was on the other side. All Krejci had to do was rifle the puck into the open net.
He quickly fired the puck towards the center of the goal and prepared to raise his stick in celebration. However, Lundqvist pushed off his right leg, raised his left arm and caught the puck in his catching glove (video above).
Shock and stunned silence.
Lundqvist robbed Krejci and made one of the best saves of the year.
Still, the Bruins won the game 3-1.
Anderson Punishes Prust
Craig Anderson has a 1.55 goals against mark this season.
While injuries have kept him from playing a full season, he has made numerous spectacular saves.
None were better than this bit of thievery (video above) against Brandon Prust of the Montreal Canadiens Jan. 30.
Prust found himself with a sensational scoring opportunity while right in front of the Ottawa net. Anderson reached for a seemingly unreachable puck and corralled it, causing Prust to look skyward and shake his head.
The Senators shut down the the Canadiens 5-1.
Emery Stops Stewart
The Blackhawks were on a remarkable streak when they rolled into St. Louis Feb. 28.
They had a 16-0-3 record and they knew they would have to play their best game against the Blues, who wanted nothing more than to stop Chicago's record streak of not losing a game in regulation time from the start of the season.
Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery was more than up to the task, leading the Blackhawks to a 3-0 victory.
During the game, Emery made a number of stellar stops, but none better than this save on Chris Stewart. Emery was seemingly down and out, but he still found a way to keep Stewart from lifting the puck over his body and putting it in the net.
Eberle Gets Bobbed
Sergei Bobrovsky has climbed dramatically this season and is in contention for the Vezina Trophy.
Bobrovsky is the main reason that the Columbus Blue Jackets are fighting for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and a spot in the playoffs.
He has made a series of acrobatic saves, but his best was this robbery of Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers. Eberle had the puck a few feet from the Columbus net in overtime. Just as he was about to bury the winner, Bobrovsky went down and spread-eagled to deny the goal.
The Blue Jackets would go on to a 4-3 shootout victory.
Rask Robs Rangers
The Boston Bruins had a tough road game against the New York Rangers early in the season.
The Rangers were the Eastern Conference favorites and had already lost a game to the Bruins when they hosted them Jan. 23.
The game was tied 3-3 late in the third period when Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik went in 2-on-1 against Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. Nash fired a whistling shot that Rask managed to get a glove on, but he could not control the rebound. It went right to Gaborik who had the chance to tap a backhander into the open net.
Except Rask wouldn't let him. He quickly got his glove in front of Gaborik's attempt and the puck never made it to the net.
Gaborik would eventually score the game winner in overtime, but this remains a save to rewind again.
Miller Makes a Stand
Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres have not enjoyed a wonderful season.
However, when the Sabres went to Carolina March 5, Miller had a stellar moment in the second period.
The Sabres were victimized by their own inability to secure the puck and Eric Staal and Alex Semin went in against Miller on a 2-on-0.
Staal was close to the left boards and Semin was steaming up the middle. Staal's pass landed right on Semin's tape and he got rid of a quick shot that was headed to the roof of the net. Miller would have none of it. He read Staal's pass, anticipated Semin's shot and caught it in the web of his glove.
Not only did he make a miraculous stop, he appeared to have a full understanding of what his opponents were doing and he accomplished the save with expertise.
Fasth Takes Charge
The Anaheim Ducks were trying to establish their presence early in the season when they took on the San Jose Sharks Feb. 4.
They had rookie Viktor Fasth in the net when Patrick Marleau of the Sharks stole the puck and went in a on breakaway.
Fasth was basically untested at that point, but he handled Marleau like a seasoned veteran. As Marleau prepared to make his decisive move, Fasth made a sensational poke check and knocked the puck away before Marleau could unleash his deadly backhand.
The save was decisive as Anaheim recorded a 2-1 win.
Schneider Stones Couture
Cory Schneider has not had it easy this season.
He was supposed to be the Vancouver Canucks' top goalie this season and it was expected that veteran Roberto Luongo would be traded. That would have made for a much easier work environment for Schneider.
The Canucks didn't trade Luongo, but Schneider has still managed to put together an excellent season even though he got off to a slow start.
Schneider was at his best when he stopped heady Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks March 5. With the score tied 2-2 in the third period, the Canucks turned the puck over and it slid out into the slot about 20 feet in front of Schneider.
Couture pounced on the puck and whipped a wrister to the top left corner. Schneider flashed out his glove and caught the potential game winner.
Stellar. The Sharks went on to win the game 3-2 in a shootout.
Niemi Says No
The Sharks have had a rather uneven season. They started off with a sensational 7-0 record but they quickly went into a malaise and played uninspired hockey for a long stretch in the middle of the season. They have recovered in the last four weeks.
Despite their inconsistency, they have gotten top-notch play from goalie Antti Niemi throughout the season. He preserved a victory April 5 when he made two last-second saves against the Calgary Flames, including one miraculous stop on Alex Tanguay.
Niemi has been there in nearly every game and he was at his best in the 2-1 Sharks victory.
Ward Stops Okposo
The New York Islanders appear to be in the final stages of earning a playoff spot this year.
They have found a way to overcome stellar saves by opposing goaltenders. Kyle Okposo of the Islanders was victimized by Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes Feb. 24.
Okposo was flying as he crossed the red line and he made it up to top speed by the time he crossed the blue line. He blasted a high riser that was headed to the top corner (the :29-second mark at the video above). Ward appeared to have no chance at stopping the shot, but he flashed his glove and blunted the scoring attempt.
The Hurricanes went on to beat the Islanders 4-2.