NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, in conjunction with the new Canada Post goaltender stamp series, provides his insight into the position he played for 11 seasons in the League.
This week, Weekes discusses the best individual goaltending performances.
There have been many great performances by goaltenders during the regular season and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that would classify them as Game Savers. Although I can't include them all here, after much thought, here are what I believe to be the five best goalie performances of all time.
1. Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres, April 27, 1994
Hasek made 70 saves in a 1-0 playoff victory against a young rookie named Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was one of the best games I have seen, if not the best. How does it get better than that? Not only the saves, but the quality of saves in the entire game and then with the game being on the line in overtime and the significance of the game.
Hasek could make saves in so many different ways. He could improvise and his ability to read the game was unparalleled. Hasek could see the same shot or a similar shot and stop it in different ways at different times. You never knew what he was going to do. He was so unpredictable, which, to me, made him more fun to watch. Also, as a side note: Brodeur made 49 saves in the loss for the Devils
2. Ben Scrivens, Edmonton Oilers, January 29, 2014
Scrivens set an NHL record for most saves in a regular-season shutout (59) in a 3-0 win against the San Jose Sharks. He had to make 20-plus saves in each of the first two periods and then made 17 in the third. The Sharks just kept peppering Scrivens with shots, but he saved them all. That was a one-man game. We always talk about it being a team sport, but for him to be that dominant, it was a one-man game.
Goaltending coach Bill Ranford did an amazing job with Scrivens with the Los Angeles Kings. He was able to help him become an NHL goalie. I had several discussions with Ranford in terms of what they worked on, what their points of emphasis were. They corrected his glove position, and there were a lot of different things they did with him that really helped cement himself as an NHL goalie at the time.
When Jonathan Quick was injured, Scrivens stepped in and had a .931 save percentage and 1.97 goals-against average in 17 games before he was traded to the Oilers. Edmonton didn't have the strongest defensive team, but he was able to maintain the same level, and that game was a night to remember. Obviously, it's been a tough road for him being in the American Hockey League now, but he can always look back on that. Scrivens' wife, Jenny, is also a goalie playing for the New York Riveters of the National Women's Hockey League.
3. Curtis Joseph, St. Louis Blues, May 5, 1993
The St. Louis Blues would not have taken the Campbell Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs to seven games in 1993 if not for Joseph, who stood on his head all series long. The Blues lost in seven games, but not because of Joseph. How good was he? Joseph made 61 saves in Game 1 in a 2-1 double overtime loss. The Blues clearly needed to win Game 2, and Joseph made 57 saves on 58 shots in a 2-1 double overtime victory.
He stood on his head all series long, but particularly in the first two games of this series, and to this day, it's some of the best goaltending I've ever seen from an individual. I said a few weeks ago that I feel he belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and performances like this are why.
4. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks, April 11, 2007
Luongo has appeared in 64 playoff games in his career, but his first game was easily his most memorable. He allowed four goals but made 72 saves -- one short of the playoff record -- in a 5-4 quadruple-overtime win against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. He made 36 saves and allowed four goals in regulation before making 36 more saves in almost four full overtime periods.
I talked about it previously here that I thought Luongo was one of the best goalies to never win the Cup, and this was the type of performance that showed just how good he was and is.
5. Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins, May 2, 2011
In many ways, Tim Thomas reminded me of Hasek. He was able to play the game in many different ways and make saves in so many different ways. Thomas played very aggressively and challenged the shooters at certain times. He could just do everything at such a high level in terms of making saves. It was crazy. He had a real unique and intuitive feel for the position, which you have to have to make all those saves in different ways.
On his way to winning the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011, Thomas had many good games, but perhaps none better than a 3-2 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in which he made 52 saves. Thomas made 22 saves in the third period with the game tied 2-2.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, April 20, 2014
It's not necessarily a great individual performance but this sticks out to me so I wanted to mention it. After allowing seven goals in a 7-2 loss in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Sharks, Quick went by the bench and said, "All right, guys. We will be back. I will be better." He waited for them to leave the ice at the end of the game when any other goalie would have rushed off the ice and broken at least four sticks. The Kings ended up winning that series in seven games after trailing 3-0 and went on to win the Stanley Cup. That moment was the key to them winning the Cup, and Quick was a huge reason why.