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What's the Save of the Season? You decide!

Thursday, 04.09.2009 / 12:00 PM / NHL Insider

By Adam Schwartz and Brad Holland - Staff Writers

Below you'll find our five nominees for the Fans' Choice Save of the Season.

Watch the videos, consider their merits, and record your choice by voting in the poll.

Vote as many times as you like.

The choice is personal, but some things to consider when voting are the degree of difficulty, impact on the game, and style.

The voting ends this Friday at 10 a.m. ET, as the top goal, hit and save of the season are revealed later that day.


Miikka Kiprusoff on Kyle Wellwood - February 17, 2009

The rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames is intense and made even more volatile by the fact that the two are vying for the Northwest Division title.

In Calgary, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is a major reason for the Flames' success.

In Vancouver, goaltender Roberto Luongo is a major reason for the Canucks' success.

Don't think they aren't looking to show up each other every time they face one another.

In this game, Kiprusoff made one of the season's best saves when he stopped the original shot from the point, and while he moved to his left, the rebound went to his right and Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood was there, unguarded, with a mostly vacant net.

Somehow, Kiprusoff was able to reach back and make a heroic stop with his stick to keep the Flames up by a goal in the second half of the third period.

They would go on to lose in a shootout, but "Kipper" may have single-handedly earned the Flames an extra point with that save alone, which could in turn be a factor in crowning the Northwest Division winner at season's end.

Tim Thomas on Patrik Elias - December 23, 2008

The Devils and Bruins are two of the three top teams in the Eastern Conference, led by two of the finer goalies in the entire League.

On this night, however, Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas faced not legend Martin Brodeur between the pipes, but "backup" Scott Clemmensen.

He took the opportunity for the spotlight and ran with it.

Late in the second period, Thomas made a two-on-one save on a Jamie Langenbrunner slap shot, kicking the rebound out to his right.

Patrik Elias scooped up the rebound.

Looking at a gaping net, Elias fired but Thomas was able to get his stick in front of the shot, and keep the game scoreless. Thomas proceeded to shut out the Devils 2-0 with the Bruins scoring an empty-net goal.

Had Elias scored, the game would have taken a different complexion, which made this save just as important then, as it now looks in hindsight.

Joey MacDonald on Mikael Samuelsson - March 27, 2009

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Especially when it's served up against your old team, in the form of a 2-0 shutout in front of their home fans, in a game they must win to remain in the Presidents' Trophy chase.

Yes, Joey MacDonald is that cold.

Now the Red Wings' high-octane attack is leading the League in goals scored, so it may not be a surprise that MacDonald's best save of the season came against them.

It was surely a surprise for Detroit Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson, however.

On the power play, early in the second period of a scoreless game, defenseman Niklas Kronwall makes a terrific cross-seam pass to Samuelsson, who had most of the net to shoot at, at the back door.

Amazingly, MacDonald leaps back in time to nab Samuelsson's shot.

What made it even more important -- to MacDonald at least -- is that the Red Wings were the team that "Joey Mac" started with in the NHL.

This is one save -- and one shutout -- that the young netminder will never, ever forget.

Marty Turco on Jonathan Toews - February 21, 2009

A goaltender making a save with his skate isn't that big a deal.

A goaltender making a save with his skate above his head... now that's something.

Turco will probably be the first to tell you: if you see him do something spectacular, it probably means he was caught out of position to begin with.

Luckily for us, however, is that when goalies are caught out of position, is exactly when some of the best saves are made.

Despite being down and out, on his stomach and with the puck on Chicago captain Jonathan Toews' stick, Turco kicked up with his back pad and he deflected Toews' shot over the net with the blade of his skate.

The save was crucial because the Stars were trailing 2-0 at the time, and even though the Stars eventually lost 3-1, it kept them in the game and gave a big boost to the Stars.

Turco had Toews not only shaking his head, but frustrated enough to punch the glass when he returned to the bench.

Marc-Andre Fleury on Jason Blake - February 14, 2009

Even in the midst of a tough night, goaltenders can take little things away from the game to help bolster their confidence.

These little things become big victories, if they help a goaltender maintain his confidence amidst a barrage of shots and goals from the opposing team.

During a big night for the Maple Leafs where they would go on to win the game 6-2, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury reminded everyone in the building why he was picked first in the 2003 Entry Draft.

Fleury stole a hat trick from Toronto forward Jason Blake, who had already scored two goals, despite what appeared to be an open net for Blake and a sure-fire goal for the Leafs.

Left in "no man's land" while Blake attempted to tuck the puck into an empty net, Fleury was able to lunge back into the play and make a remarkable catch with his glove.

For Fleury, it was big because he did not let the scoreboard affect his play. For the Pens, it was big because they got further proof that they're able to rely on their young netminder, even when things get tough.

And for the fans, well, it will be only as big as the voters decide.


Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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