The 2012-13 NHL season had no shortage of great games and amazing performances. NHL.com asked its writers to stroll down memory lane and pick some of their top moments of the season that was.
Today: Best goaltending performances of the 2012-13 season
So much of the focus today is placed on all the talented goal-scorers in the NHL. But what about the masked men?
There were a number of outstanding goaltending performances during the 2012-13 season. Here is a sampling of them, presented in chronological order:
Harding's big moment -- When Josh Harding announced in November he was suffering from multiple sclerosis, he vowed it would not end his NHL career.
"I don't want people treating me different, I don't want people feeling bad for me, I don't want people moping around," he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I want this to be a story where when we look back, it was a happy story."
On Jan. 20, it was more than just happy -- it was remarkable. Harding stopped all 24 shots he faced in a 1-0 shutout of the Dallas Stars.
"This is something most of us can't understand, what he's going through and what he's been through," Wild coach Mike Yeo said that night. "But he's earned everything. We haven't given him a thing. He's earned it. I'm really happy for him."
Harding played four more games while trying to find the best treatment for his disease, and started all five of the team's 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He also was honored with the 2013 Bill Masterton Trophy for his dedication and perseverance to the game.
Elliott baking bagels -- Brian Elliott had a remarkable 2011-12 season, going from afterthought to Jennings Trophy winner with the St. Louis Blues. After a slow start last season, he showed a return to that form in April.
Against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 4, he allowed Viktor Stalberg's goal with 4:31 left in regulation of what ended as a shootout loss. He then didn't allow another puck to get past him for 10 days.
On April 7, he made 27 saves for a shutout of the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Two days later, he stopped all 15 shots he faced to shut out the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. He made it a hat trick of blankings in Minnesota with a 23-save shutout of the Wild.
He returned to the net April 14 at home against the Blackhawks, and after adding another 20 minutes to his shutout streak, his run ended 4:31 into the second period when Bryan Bickell scored.
With a streak of 214:02, it marked the second straight season Elliott had pulled off a 200-plus minute shutout run -- in 2011-12, he set the club mark with a 241:33 shutout streak.
Reimer wins big -- The Toronto Maple Leafs had been Stanley Cup Playoff observers since 2004, but that ended thanks in part to a huge performance by goalie James Reimer in a 4-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on April 20.
The Senators came out firing, putting 18 shots on net in the first period, but Reimer stopped all of them. He saw 17 more shots in the second and stopped 16 of them. Two of Toronto's shots went in, giving the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Ottawa kept pushing in the third, totaling 15 shots, but again, Reimer was more than up to the challenge. At the other end, the Leafs had eight shots, but they put two more behind the Senators' Craig Anderson.
When the game ended, the Maple Leafs had a 4-1 win and a spot in the playoffs, despite being outshot 50-22.
Henrik shows why he's the King -- After a 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series, the New York Rangers trailed 3-2 and their sputtering offense had produced a total of 10 goals.
That left it to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to ride to the rescue, and he did it in dominating fashion.
In Game 6 in New York on May 12, Lundqvist stopped all 27 shots he faced, including 12 in the third period, to make Derrick Brassard's second-period goal stand up as the winner in a 1-0 victory and force Game 7 the next day.
"You make your legacy as a player in these type of situations," Rangers coach John Tortorella said after Game 6. If that's true, Lundqvist cemented his place among the game's greats 24 hours later.
With the series back in Washington for Game 7, Lundqvist again stopped everything coming his way. The Capitals piled up 26 shots in the first two periods but found themselves down 3-0.
"To have played this well in such an important game, it is definitely going to help us moving forward," Lundqvist said. "It is a lot about confidence, especially in a game like this and the [Game 6]. You have to believe you can do it and you can't question anything. You can't think too much about things you can't control. It is about going out and taking care of business and doing the things you talk about -- and we did and it paid off big time."
Quick stymies the Sharks -- It's not that Jonathan Quick struggled in the Los Angeles Kings' first-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, but he did lose as many games in the first round (two) as he lost in the first three rounds in the previous year's postseason.
So there was something for Quick to prove as the Kings opened the second round against the San Jose Sharks at home -- the first time that happened in 21 years. And Quick gave the Staples Center crowd something to remember.
The Sharks carried the play in the first two periods, but Quick stopped all eight Sharks shots in the first, and denied 11 more in the second, while the Kings got goals from Slava Voynov and Mike Richards.
San Jose came even harder in the third, piling up 16 shots, but they still couldn't solve Quick. Despite a 35-20 advantage in shots, the Sharks were on the short end of a 2-0 series-opening loss.
Quick had another shutout in Game 5 as the Kings eventually won the series in seven games.
Andy is dandy vs. Penguins -- After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Ottawa Senators were desperate for a big performance. At home for Game 3, they got it from goaltender Craig Anderson.
Anderson stopped all 12 Penguins shots in a scoreless first period and kept the shutout intact until 1:07 was left in the second when Tyler Kennedy's shot got past him.
But that was the only slip Anderson had. He held the fort until Daniel Alfredsson scored shorthanded with 28.6 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. Anderson stopped all nine Penguins shots in the third period as the game went to overtime. Anderson was even better in the first extra session, when the Penguins threw 13 shots at him, but he denied them all.
In the second overtime, Senators defenseman Chris Phillips was sent off for holding, but Anderson turned aside both Pittsburgh shots, two of the five the Penguins had in the second extra period.
Ottawa finally won it on Colin Greening's goal at 7:39 of the second overtime, but it was Anderson who had the most memorable night. He stopped 49 of 50 shots, and all 12 the Penguins had on six power plays, including a 58-second 5-on-3 advantage early in the second period.
It turned out to be the only shining moment for the Senators, who lost the series in five games.
Tuukka Terrific -- Everyone expected a close, hard-fought series when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins squared off in the Eastern Conference Final. With so many high-end offensive players, few expected one of the goalies to steal the show. But in Game 3, that's exactly what Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask did.
Rask already had shut out the Penguins in Game 1, but his effort in Game 3 might have been even more impressive.
He stopped 24 of 25 shots in the first two periods, with only a Chris Kunitz shot at 8:51 of the second eluding him in the first 40 minutes. It was the last one that would.
With the game tied 1-1 heading into the third, the Penguins pushed hard, outshooting the Bruins 14-4, but Rask stopped all 14 shots. He made seven more saves in overtime, including two on a Pittsburgh power play.
The game carried into a second overtime, and the Penguins outshot the Bruins 8-6, but the only shot that went in came off the stick of Boston's Patrice Bergeron, giving the Bruins a 2-1 win and a 3-0 series lead.
Rask finished with 53 saves on 54 shots, including a 13-for-13 effort against the Pittsburgh power play. After blanking the Penguins for 60 minutes in Game 1, he did it for 66:28 in Game 3 after Kunitz's goal.
"Tuukka's been our most consistent player all year long," Bruins center Chris Kelly said. "He just proved that again tonight coming up with some big saves when we really needed them."
Dual brilliance in net -- Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks saw an outstanding performance in each net, with seven goals scored on a total of 113 shots in 112:08 of hockey.
Each goalie raised his play in overtime.
After Boston was outshot in regulation, it carried the play in the first overtime, outshooting Chicago 12-8, including three on a power play after the Blackhawks were whistled for too many men on the ice. Play was more even in the second overtime, when each goalie made 10 saves. Crawford again had to come up big on the penalty kill, after the Blackhawks again were penalized for having too many men on the ice, this time with 53 seconds remaining in the period.
He made two saves on the Boston power play, and things stayed even through the midpoint of the third overtime.
By this point, both sides were doing anything and everything they could to create scoring chances, knowing any puck placed near the net could be the deciding factor.
"It wasn't going to be a pretty one," Blackhawks center Dave Bolland said.
Rask finished with 59 saves on 63 shots; Crawford stopped 51 of the 54 shots he faced.
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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