NHL Video : Top 50 Saves of the Season
For goaltenders in the National Hockey League, the game itself may be changing but the job remains as simple as ever. Like many feats of super-human athleticism, the job of stopping the puck sounds far easier than it is.
Being a goaltender in the NHL takes a very unique personality, one that can accept the blame and deflect the credit all while stopping a 100-plus mph slapshot.
We've all seen some terrific plays this year, but none may be more awe-inspiring than some of the saves you are about to witness on our ranking.
As the players become bigger, stronger and faster, the goalies are also taking their game to the next level and fans are rewarded with some awesome saves.
Curious to see if your favorite goalie made the list? From diving stops, acrobatic saves and desperation plays, this slideshow has it all.
Enjoy the article, and keep an eye on the top save of the year, because you may never see another save like it ever again.
Rask and Kaberle Save the Day : 3/15/11
Maybe it's because I don't play goalie, but when I watch a save like this I always think about how the shooter must feel. It must have been a great feeling for Rask who has struggled this year but had one of his best games in the 3-2 win.
With the Blue Jackets swarming in OT, Rask came up with two huge saves but still needed Tomas Kaberle to keep the game going.
Neuvirth Stones Staal : 10/27/10
Neuvirth ROBS Staal
Michal Neuvirth recorded his first career shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes, recording 29 saves for the 3-0 victory at RBC Center.
None of the 29 saves loomed larger than this one against Eric Staal, who couldn't believe he missed on this golden opportunity.
Neuvirth has shown flashes in his young promising career, and the Capitals need this kind of play down the stretch.
Price Robs LaRose: 11/13/10
The Price is Right
You had to figure that Carey Price would have all eyes on him in this home game against the Hurricanes so early in the season.
Price has been an MVP candidate for the Habs for most of the season, and turned away 28 shots in the 7-2 beatdown of the Hurricanes at the Bell Center.
Price has been confident all season and was unflappable against Carolina this night. We'll see how his story of redemption unfolds into the postseason.
Marty Flashes Glove in OT : 3/6/11
It hasn't been a very good year for Martin Broduer, missing time as the Devils struggled for the early part of the season.
But with this 3-2 victory over the Islanders won in the shootout by Brian Rolston, Brodeur and the Devils climbed within striking distance of the playoffs.
Brodeur recorded 20 saves in the victory, and was sharp in the overtime session stopping this slapshot from Jack Hillen.
Marty may not be the goalie he once was, but he's still the gold standard.
Lehtonen Split Save : 3/7/11
Kari Lehtonen recorded 20 saves for the Dallas win, outdueling Jonathan Bernier in the 4-3 victory for the Stars.
Lehtonen made a terrific lunging save against Clifford and cleaned up the rebound off of Stoll to keep the game tied.
Great effort and Clifford had to be disappointed, not to mention that he got his clock cleaned shortly thereafter by Ribiero.
Jonas Hiller Denies Skille : 1/2/11
Jonas Hiller was in the middle of yet another stellar season before a bout of vertigo put the goalie on LTIR. He is back and slowly rounding back into his Vezina form from earlier in the year. This save is an example of how well he was playing.
Skille could not lift the puck enough and HIller simply stopped him cold while he was falling down. Great save from Hiller and the look on Skille's face is priceless.
Vokoun Goes Post to Post Against Isles : 2/11/11
Trade rumors were flying around the Panthers' goalie Tomas Vokoun, but it sure didn't seem to distract him on this save.
Even in the middle of another poor season with the Panthers who are fading in the playoff race, Vokoun can still make the miracle save and carry a team.
He's bound to get more than a few calls when he becomes a free agent, and could be the missing piece for any contender.
Red Wings Stopped by Khabi-Bulin Wall : 11/5/10
In a 3-1 loss to the Red Wings, Nikolai Khabibulin made one of the season's finest saves late in the second period. After kicking out the initial shot, a sprawling aerial glove save kept the game within striking distance.
What a terrific acrobatic glove save from the Bulin Wall who can still make the magical save on any given night.
Luongo Denies Winchester : 2/14/11
Roberto Luongo came into the showdown against the Blues having gone 16-0-5 in his last 21 games and dominant in the net.
He would lose this night, stopping 31 of 34 shots as the Canucks fell 3-2 at the Scottsdale Center.
Could have been worse without this huge save, leaping out to stone Brad Winchester shooting on a open net.
Niemi Stops Predators Cold : 3/8/11
The Sharks entered this game having lost their previous two games after a 9-0-1 tear through February. Antti Niemi recorded 30 saves in the win snapping the streak, but this save against Suter was a remarkable one.
Niemi lunged over for the kick save against Ryan Suter on the odd-man rush, preserving the 2-1 win for San Jose.
Crawford Robs Stamkos 3/9/11
Corey Crawford had some big shoes to fill for the defending champion Blackhawks and has performed admirably this year. He's made some big saves, none bigger than this one against one of the top lines in the league.
Crawford dove across in time to save the Blackhawks from an untimely miscue that created the 2-1 odd-man rush down the ice.
Thoedore Shuts Door on Rangers : 3/3/11
Jose Theodore had a flashback to his days in Montreal with this great save against Ryan Callahan. He was outstanding all night, recording 40 saves in the 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden.
He's had some great performances against the Rangers before, but this one was dominant.
Ryan Callahan is probably still seeing Theodore's in his nightmares, what an incredible save.
Backstrom Denies Skinner : 10/7/10
Backstrom dives for the save
In a losing effort against the Carolina Hurricanes, Backstrom came up with this beauty of a save against rookie phenom Jeff Skinner. You almost miss the greatness of this save because Backstrom is so calm about it all.
Backstrom bats the puck away to make the save, displaying a great level of hand-eye coordination and skill.
Henrik Lundqvist Denies Kopitar : 2/17/11
King Henry does it again
Leading the way to a 4-3 Rangers victory over the Kings, King Henrik absolutely robbed Anze Kopitar on this odd-man rush.
Even in slow-mo this save looks damn near impossible and when you consider Kopitar's skill level, the save almost defies logic.
You can always measure the greatness of a goalie when he makes the spectacular save look average, and against the Kings Lundqvist was Superman.
Bobrovsky Stones Kovalev : 3/24/11
Sergei Bobrovsky faced 31 shots in defeat and made several huge stops against the Penguins, including a breakaway against Tyler Kennedy in the first period.
Bobrovsky was under siege all night, and stood on his head on this golden chance from Kovalev following a rebound off the boards.
Price and Spacek Save the Habs: 1/2/11
In the losing effort, Carey Price kept the game going in the overtime frame with a huge assist going to Jaroslav Spacek.
Although the Habs fell shortly thereafter on the Byfuglien power-play goal, this save in the extra frame kept Montreal going.
Robin Lehner Toes the Line : 2/9/11
The Senators did not do Robin Lehner any favors against the Calgary Flames, blowing the lead and taking some bad penalties late.
With the 2-1 advantage, Lehner lunged across for the spectacular kick save but buckled under three power-play tallies to fall 5-2.
Brian Elliott Stops Pisani : 1/7/11
Not much has gone right for the Senators this year, but this save in the losing effort against the Blackhawks was terrific.
Brian Elliott flashed some serious lateral movement as he came across the crease to steal one from Fernando Pisani.
Ondrej Pavelec Denies Bozak : 2/7/11
With their playoff hopes evaporating, the struggling Thrashers hit the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the losing effort, Ondrej Pavelec surrendered five goals on 32 shots but came up huge in the first period with a slim lead.
Following an odd bounce, Tyler Bozak's backhand attempt was denied by Pavelec on this terrific scoring chance. Great job waiting out Bozak and not biting on his initial move cutting across the net. This save helped keep Atlanta within striking distance.
Boucher Robs the Mule : 1/2/11
Brian Boucher had one heck of a 34th birthday as he backed the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Making 25 saves, Boucher gave the Flyers their first win in the Motor City in over 20 years. Like wine, the veteran Boucher keeps getting better with time and gives Philadelphia a good backup plan in the playoffs.
It doesn't get any bigger with this save, as Boucher finished with the glove hand flourish.
Montoya Makes a Miracle Save : 3/22/11
Al Montoya spoiled Dwayne Roloson's return to New York, as the Islanders grounded the Bolts 5-2 behind the strength of his play in net.
Montoya just barely kept the puck out of the net on this great save, one of his 36 to record the win.
Lindback Robs Vanek : 3/20/11
Anders Lindback stopped 35 shots including this sparkling glove save which preserved the one goal lead as Nashville held on for the crucial win against the Buffalo Sabres.
A great second effort after he had already committed to the initial shot, Lindback robbed Vanek blind to keep the Preds ahead.
Halak Has Wings Singing the Blues : 1/20/11
The Blues came up short in their bid to come back against the Red Wings in OT, but wouldn't have even had the chance without Halak.
Jaroslav jumped in for the last second kick save. You've got to see this save from the overhead view to truly appreciate it.
Miller Saves the Day for Sabres : 3/1/11
It's been a down year for Ryan Miller, but he's still among the league's best goaltenders and showed it against the Rangers this night.
With the Sabres clinging to the lead and fighting off the Rangers with the extra attacker and a minute remaining, Miller saved the day.
Mason Robs Ott : 2/13/11
Columbus had to hold on for dear life with Mason leading the way, making 14 saves in the final period to preserve the win.
Steve Mason had no business making this save on Ott, who had a wide open net to shoot the puck into with Mason out of position.
Kiprusoff Is Like a Wall : 3/15/11
In the thick of the playoff charge, the Flames needed Kiprusoff to carry them over the Phoenix Coyotes, but came up short in the rally.
Allowing four goals on 25 shots, Kiprusoff made up for yet another defensive zone turnover with a terrific save.
Lunging to his right to erase the turnover deep in the Calgary zone, Kiprusoff had no business making this save.
Thomas Dances with Devils : 9/16/10
No soup for Kovy
Tim Thomas made 31 saves on the way to a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils, and this save highlighted just how good he was early in the season.
Making the huge save on Kovalchuk at full speed on the power play, this save was just flat out awesome.
Backstrom Denies Captain Serious 10/30/11
Niklas Backstrom held the Wild in this game against the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. After withstanding the early onslaught from the Blackhawks, Backstrom came up with this gem of a save against Jonathan Toews.
The Wild just couldn't even the score for their goalie, and wasted this tremendous lunging save denying the wraparound attempt.
Carey Price Stones Sidney Crosby : 10/9/10
Carey Price was sharp for his first win of the season, stopping 36-of-38 shots in the Canadiens' 3-2 victory over the Penguins. After his preseason comments, Price kicked the season off well in a remarkable performance against Pittsburgh.
What a terrific save against Crosby, with an added glove snap reminiscent of the great Patrick Roy.
Miller Saves the Sabres : 2/23/11
Ryan Miller makes the spectacular look routine and because of that, it can be difficult to gauge some of his saves.
He looks completely in control and calm while coming up with two huge saves here against the Thrashers shorthanded. Great goaltenders can erase mistakes in front of them and Miller showed Atlanta how great he is on this sequence.
Pekka Rinne with Sharp Stop : 1/15/11
With the score knotted, Pekka Rinne robbed Patrick Sharp on this breakaway chance in overtime, allowing Nashville to gut out the victory by way of shootout.
Sharp had him beat and Rinne just stuck with the play coming up with the huge save to keep his team in the game.
Mason Makes Up for His Mistake : 2/8/11
Anytime you see your goalie make a puckhandling gaffe, you want to see him make amends as Mason did on this sequence against the Pens.
Steve Mason's two saves following his error bailed his team out of a potential problem, and the Blue Jackets took the win behind Mason's 32 saves.
Stopping Tangradi's shot directly off of his turnover was a great reflex save, and the follow-up save was no slouch either.
Flower Shuts Down Panthers : 3/27/11
Where would the Penguins be without Marc-Andre Fleury, who has carried this team through some pretty serious injuries.
This game typified Fleury's season with a sparkling save against the Panthers in a game eventually won by way of the shootout.
What a great lunging save to keep the game scoreless early in the first. Fleury really could be the MVP of the season for Pittsburgh.
Kipper Blanks Stoll : 12/9/10
Kipper does it again
Every year you wonder if Miikka Kiprusoff could possibly continue being the heavy workhorse for the Flames. And every year he just keeps carrying the load, making one huge save after another.
He bailed out Corey Sarich on this horrible turnover down low and not only stopped Ryan Smyth but also made a tremendous save on Stoll.
Talk about highway robbery. Kipper saved the Flames' bacon with this marvelous effort.
Holtby Grounds Bolts : 3/7/11
Braden Holtby is part of the youngest goaltending stable in the NHL, and might make it a difficult for the Capitals to select a goalie for the playoffs.
He surprised many people following his call-up and enjoyed a tremendous March, including this save against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Holtby looked so calm batting the puck out of midair with the open net behind him, what a great stop.
Howard Denies Sedin Twins: 1/8/11
Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings withstood the early onslaught from the Vancouver Canucks to rally for the 2-1 win in the shootout.
Howard had to be at his best early, and was especially sharp against the Sedin twins on this sparkling save. Doesn't get much more clutch than this stop against the NHL's leading scorer and the top team in the NHL.
Dubnyk Robs Flames : 3/26/11
With the Flames in the middle of their playoff drive, the Edmonton Oilers and Devan Dubnyk fell by a score of 5-4.
Dubnyk made 27 saves in defeat, but this one was the best save of the game as he completely robbed Olli Jokinen midway through the first.
Niemi Robs Franzen : 2/22/11
In another chapter of the Sharks-Red Wings rivalry, Antti Niemi answered the call against one of the biggest Shark hunters of all.
Franzen was denied on the rebound attempt as Niemi held the lead with just 20 seconds left in regulation. Nemo has had no shortage of huge saves this year, and chances are he'll be seeing Franzen again in the playoffs.
Thomas Burns Leafs : 12/4/11
Can anyone really say they saw this kind of season from Tim Thomas before the season started? Thomas has been a rock in net for the B’s and this save typified his season.
Coming up with the huge save against Francois Beauchemin in overtime, Thomas kept the game going before falling in the shootout.
What else can you really say about the diving glove save? The look on Beauchemin's face says it all.
Fleury Denies Isles : 1/25/2011
Marc-Andre Fleury got the shutout against the New York Islanders 1-0, stopping 29 shots right before the All-Star Break.
I don't know which save is better, the rebound chance or the wraparound stop against Grabner, but this sequence was awesome.
King Henry Robs Darche : 1/15/11
The Rangers fell just short of their comeback bid at the Bell Centre after Henrik Lundqvist faced 17 shots in the first period alone.
With Darche all alone in front of the net, Lundqvist robbed him, keeping the Rangers from falling behind by two. Making 38 stops in the loss, the Rangers could not get the equalizer despite pouring 21 shots on goal in the third period.
Lundqvist honestly had no business making this save, and his tremendous effort is only equaled by his cool demeanor.
Anderson Dives to Make Save : 3/25/11
Craig Anderson has been a pleasant surprise for the Senators, who have not exactly enjoyed a banner year.
This huge save against Semin in the second period preserved the shutout for Ottawa at home, who took the 2-0 win over the Caps.
Optimus Reim Saves the Leafs : 3/3/11
James Reimer ruined Kris Versteeg's big night, posting 28 stops for the victory over the Flyers. Reimer made save after save to offset two goals from Versteeg and this sequence late in the third preserved the win.
What a great sequence from the surprising rookie, and Maple Leaf fans are hoping he's the guy for them moving forward.
Rask Gets Wild and Denies Havlat: 1/6/2011
It's been a disappointing year for Rask after taking a backseat to Tim Thomas, but he was at his best against the Wild on this night.
Rask kept the score tied on this marvelous save with about two minutes left in the second period. Stopping Havlat's open net shot after a great feed from Brodziak, Rask did everything in his power for the win.
A great diving effort to knock the puck out of the air with his glove, this save was huge one for the Bruins.
Ryan Miller Stones Isles : 1/15/11
Ryan Miller kicks off the top five in our countdown with this gem of a save against the New York Islanders.
Facing a two-on-nothing, Miller showed his lateral movement matching not one but two passes before snuffing out the shot for the huge save.
It almost looks like a routine save with the way Miller handles and stops the puck, but there's nothing routine about this stop.
Stuck on You by Ilya Bryzgalov : 1/26/2011
Looking initially at this save from the TV pit angle may not give you the full appreciation for it against Duchene. Bryzgalov somehow pinned the puck against his back and the goalpost, and smartly reached behind him to trap the puck before the whistle blew.
Ilya Bryzgalov went on to record 29 saves as the Phoenix Coyotes came away from the 5-2 dismantling of the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
Rinne and His Stick Deny Oilers : 1/23/11
Pekka Rinne has been his team's best player many nights, and especially in big situations like this game in overtime.
While each team exchanged power-play opportunities in the extra session, Rinne's stick was the one that made the difference.
Sometimes you've got to be lucky to be good, thankfully for the Predators Rinne's also good enough to be lucky.
Backstrom Makes Miracle Save in Shootout : 2/1/11
This is the lone shootout entry on our Top 50 saves list, but is well deserving for Niklas Backstrom against Jack Johnson.
This save is just flat out awesome, and the dejected manner in which Johnson skates back to the bench says it all.
Roloson Diving Stick Save : 3/17/11
Dwayne Roloson showed he's still got some left in the tank with this gem of a save against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Lightning will need more plays like this if they plan on a deep playoff run, but for one night 41-year-old Roloson was again amazing.
Awesome save for Tampa Bay, it just doesn't get any better than this.
Quick Invokes His Inner Richter : 3/21/11
This save reminds me of the mid 90s commercial featuring New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter taking a warm-up.
He turns away several shots and starts to skate away until someone takes a shot at the empty net and it glances off an imaginary piece of plexiglass in front of his net.
Richter turns around surprised, skates back to the crease and polishes the glass before hunkering down for the next shot.
One of the funniest NHL commercials ever shot, and it looks like Jonathan Quick has borrowed that net used in that commercial.
Watching this save in slow-motion doesn't help explain it either, I don't think you'll ever see another save quite like this one again.