NHL Video: Dwayne Roloson and the Top 5 Saves of Last Week
As the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs approach, the games get more and more important. Every shift, pass, and shot count.
Some teams are trying to claw their way into a playoff spot, while others are jostling for better positioning. Teams are playing their hearts out and playing the hardest hockey of the regular season.
This leaves quite the difficult task for the goalies.
The goalie is the last line of defense on an NHL team. In some cases, they are the only line of defense.
They have to elevate their games as much as their teammates, if not more. With forwards being the hungriest they have been all season long, the goalies are counted on to make bigger saves.
Here are five saves from last week that really stood out.
5. Michal Neuvirth, Mar. 18 vs. New Jersey Devils
How fast do you have to be to nab a blistering Ilya Kovalchuk slapshot out of the air?
Ask Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth.
CSN commentator Craig Laughlin thought the puck was rising above the net, but it looked like it was heading directly for the top corner to me.
Neuvie flashed the leather to make this spectacular save, one of 33 shots he stopped en route to shutting out the desperate New Jersey Devils.
4. Henrik Lundqvist, Mar. 16 vs. New York Islanders
King Henrik usually honors his nickname late in the season. The ridiculous glove saves he makes on Kyle Okposo during the same shift against the Rangers' foes from Long Island shows his fans exactly why he's the "King of New York."
The Blueshirts went on to beat the Isles 6-3.
3. Al Montoya, Mar. 18 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
In an attempt to spoil the playoff hopes of the Carolina Hurricanes, Al Montoya stretches out and robs Erik Cole by making a strong, sprawling kick-save.
Unfortunately, Montoya's teammates couldn't match his stellar performance on that night. The Isles fell short, losing 3-2 in overtime.
2. Niklas Backstrom, Mar. 17 vs. San Jose Sharks
As a fan, you always like to see a goalie stack the pads and make an athletic save. It just reminds you of old-school hockey: There's something about a goalie throwing his body out to stop the puck.
Niklas Backstrom does the double-stack sliding to his right against Logan Couture to keep his team in the game. You can see the disappointment in Couture's face after Backstrom makes the miraculous stop.
The Minnesota Wild went on to lose the game against the San Jose Sharks, but not before Backstrom stole the show with this dandy save.
1. Dwayne Roloson, Mar. 17 vs. Montreal Canadiens
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson displays his cat-like agility (even at 41-years-old) and hand-eye coordination as he bats a deflected Michael Cammalleri pass out of the air.
It looked to be a sure goal, but Roloson showed the hockey world why he is still a top net-minder by making the save of the week.