The Florida Pantheres were one of the toughest teams to score against during the 2015-16 season, allowing just 2.44 goals per game on average to become the seventh-best defense in the entire NHL.
Thanks in large part to the outstanding goaltending they received from starter Roberto Luongo and backup Al Montoya, the Panthers also ranked third in the league with a .932 save percentage at even strength.
“The biggest part of our defense was our goalies,” Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov said. “It doesn’t matter who played for us on defense, our goalies always made the big saves and made us look good.”
In no specific order, here are 10 of those “big saves” that kept Kulikov and the Panthers smiling throughout the 2015-16 season:
10. Feb. 8, 2016: Montoya reminds the Red Wings that it’s never wise to celebrate too early, stopping forwards Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist on back-to-back scoring chances to keep the game scoreless early in the first period.
9. April 22, 2016: Luongo shows off the power of his pads, stopping a pair of shots on the door step from Islanders forward Brock Nelson in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
8. March 3, 2016: Luongo denies Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon's penalty shot, flashing some nice leather to keep the former No. 1 overall draft pick off the scoresheet late in the third period.
7. March 24, 2016: Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes bats the puck out of midair from point-blank range, but Luongo answers with a remarkable glove save before having a little fun at the expense of his ex-Panthers teammate.
6. April 9, 2016: Hurricanes center Jordan Staal rips a one-timer from the right circle, but Luongo moves to his left and reaches out for a spectacular glove save less than a minute into the game.
5. Jan 13, 2016: Flames forward Micheal Ferland waits in front of the net for a rebound and tries to tip the puck in, but Montoya dives to make a highlight-reel save near the left post.
4. March 15, 2016: After making the initial save, Montoya displays some impressive flexibility, sprawling out to rob Canadiens forward Phillip Danault's rebound attempt with his right pad for a great save.
3. Dec. 8, 2015: With only seconds remaining in the second period, Luongo extends to his left to stone Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau with a superb glove save.
2. Nov. 4, 2015: After an initial shot knocks him down, Luongo is still able to dive to his left to in order to deny Ducks forward Chris Stewart’s golden opportunity on a power play
1. March 29, 2016: Luongo reaches across the net to deny Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau with a spectacular glove save on the doorstep.
What was your favorite save of the season? Let us know!