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Here Are 7 Goalies Who Stole The Show

The NHL is one of the oldest leagues in sports- and with years of history comes years of traditions and superstitions.

In hockey, goals get all the glory. Scoring prowess has always taken centre stage in the NHL, while goalies have had to play second fiddle. And that’s just not fair.

So, this week I’m looking back on goaltenders who stole the show. These masked bandits are some of the most consequential players to ever pull on a hockey jersey, and their highlights will live on alongside Gilmour’s double wraparound and Ovi’s backwards sliding hail mary.

Let’s go!

7. cujo makes dallas see stars

The Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars have given hockey fans some pretty memorable moments over the years, especially in the playoffs. No series was more exciting, though, than the 1997 first round edition, in which Oilers beat the Stars in seven games, including three overtime wins.

But, while the Oilers had three OT goals in that showdown, it was Curtis Joseph who made the play of the series with his iconic overtime miracle save on Joe Nieuwendyk. Twenty-two seconds later Todd Marchant streaked down the right wing and put the series-winning goal behind Andy Moog.

 

6. kirk mclean: the save

In 1994, the Vancouver Canucks made an improbable run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, with big performances from star players like Pavel Bure and Trevor Linden. But, it was goaltender Kirk McLean who made the biggest contribution of all — a double-pad kick save in overtime of game seven against the Pacific Division champion Calgary Flames.

Pavel Bure scored a highlight reel goal in the second overtime to seal the series for the ‘Nucks, but that goal remains overshadowed by McLean’s unbelievable save.

 

5. gettin' jiggy with it

Not many people picked the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to go very far in the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. So when the seventh-seed Ducks swept the juggernaut Detroit Red Wings in the first round, the hockey world took notice — of J.S. Giguere.

Giguere allowed just six goals in four games against a stacked Wings squad. But, he wasn’t done there. The Ducks went on to the Stanley Cup Finals that year, on the strength of a three-shutout, one goal against sweep of the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference finals.

The Ducks eventually lost in the final to the New Jersey Devils, but Jiggy brought home the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP — just the fifth player from a defeated team to win playoff MVP honours.

 

Winning the Conn Smythe but losing the Cup has got to sting.

4. return of the king

In 1987, sophomore goalie Patrick Roy was suspended for eight games for a deliberate slash on the Minnesota North Stars’ Warren Babe. Roy’s return game may well be his crowning moment. He blanked the Black Hawks 3–0 in that game, and this paddle save on Bryan Noonan was the cherry on top.

 

3. the dominator vs. satan's wallpaper

This may be the greatest goaltending dual of all time. By 1994, Dominik Hasek had finally emerged as the most exciting goaltender in the NHL, and he found himself squared off against then-rookie and future Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur in the first round of that year’s playoffs.

Both goalies stood tall, posting blanks through triple overtime — SIX PERIODS of shutout hockey for both of them! Finally, in quadruple overtime, the Sabres’ Dave Hannan scored, giving Buffalo the win, and Hasek a 70-save playoff shutout.

2. hextall's snipe

Everybody loves a nice goal. And that’s how Ron Hextall stole the show on December 8, 1987, when he became the first goalie to score directly into an opponent’s goal. It was such a crazy thing to see, equally mind-blowing as the Michigan goal that has become so popular with the kids these days.

 

Fans in attendence had no clue they were about to witness the game of a lifetime.

1. big save dave

This is one of the coolest stories in all of hockey.

Back in 2020, the Carolina Hurricanes paid a visit to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both of the Hurricanes goalies were injured in the first half of the game, forcing the ‘Canes to turn to the emergency backup goaltender, a 42-year-old Toronto zamboni driver named David Ayres.

With the ‘Canes up 4–1, Ayres let in the first two shots he faced, and it looked like it was all over for Carolina. But, Ayres battled back, stopping the next eight Toronto shots, earning him a real-life NHL win, 6–3 over his hometown Leafs.

The Air Canada Centre crowd actually cheered on Ayres with every save he made, and he was named one of the game’s three stars.

Following the win, Ayres made several interview appearances on news programs and talk shows across North America, and he was invited to Raleigh North Carolina to sound the siren that kicks off every Hurricanes home game.

 

Re-live one of the craziest moments in NHL history!

give the goalies their due!

It’s always amazing to me how goaltenders can take over a game, a series, and even an entire playoff. They’re right up there with the high-priced snipers — maybe more so.

Did you know that, of the 58 Conn Smythe Trophy winners, 21 have been goalies? In contrast, there have only been eight goaltenders who have brought home the Hart Trophy in its 99 year history. That seems low, considering how important the position is.

In my opinion, goalies don’t get the credit they deserve, and I’d like to see more netminders get Hart Trophy nominations. But, until then, they’ll just have to settle for a nod from the 4 Shots with Keener newsletter.

Like this list? Sign up for our newsletter below to receive all my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about hockey jerseys and hockey culture. Not a fan of this list? Then sign up an enemy for my newsletter. Either way, I’ll be back next week with another batch of brain-bending hockey talk.

 

legendary nhl goalie mike vernon reaches out for a glove save

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