We’ve counted down the top 30 goals from 2013 and now it’s time to give the goaltenders their due.
This is a slightly more difficult task. Every goal from the past year is recorded and archived, for goals are relatively rare occurrences in the grand scheme of things. Saves, on the other hand, are extremely numerous. As a rough estimate, there is an average of 60 shots per game and around 5 goals, which means saves outnumber goals by around 11-to-1.
As a result, there are some superb saves that get noted during the game and are immediately forgotten afterwards, at best buried in a post-game highlight package.
Some saves, however, are good enough to be uploaded to YouTube for posterity, whether by the NHL, the official Canucks account, or various fans. From those saves, we selected the 16 best Canucks saves of 2013.
16 | Roberto Luongo vs New York Islanders, October 22nd
This save gets points for originality, but loses points for technically not being a save, as it looks like the puck is heading over the net. Still, that’s some great hand-eye coordination.
15 | Roberto Luongo vs Detroit Red Wings, October 30th
A bad gamble by Dan Hamhuis leads to a 4-on-1 the other way, but Chris Tanev plays the odd man rush perfectly and Luongo anticipates the pass beautifully, making the sliding pad save.
14 | Eddie Lack vs Los Angeles Kings, November 9th
This is a brutal giveaway by Zack Kassian, but Lack makes up for it by stretching out his left leg to stuff Trevor Lewis.
13 | Roberto Luongo vs New York Rangers, September 26th
I’m always down for some good old-fashioned flashing of the leather and this is a great example on a shot labelled for the top corner, with the added bonus of saving the shutout as well. The only reason it isn’t any higher is that it’s during the pre-season, which takes away some of its lustre.
12 | Eddie Lack vs Columbus Bluejackets, October 20th
This save improves immensely on the replay. Upon first viewing, it looks fine, but it’s only on the replay in slow motion from other, better angles that the amazingness of this toe save becomes clear.
11 | Eddie Lack vs Winnipeg Jets, December 22nd
This may come out a little wrong, but Eddie Lack has incredible legs. Seriously, his legs are absurdly long and stretch out forever. Most impressively, he’s able to kick out his legs while keeping his pads flat on the ice, helping to make this great left pad stop.
10 | Roberto Luongo vs Pittsburgh Penguins, October 19th
This is a good save that is immediately elevated to a great save by the sassiness with which Luongo tosses away the puck. Sassiness is an underrated goaltender attribute and I’m frustrated by EA’s refusal to include it in their video games.
9 | Cory Schneider vs Dallas Stars, April 18th
Schneider bails out Cam Barker after an ugly turnover with a superb glove save. The overhead angle provides the best view, showing that the puck was heading to the far corner when Schneider snagged it.
8 | Roberto Luongo vs Edmonton Oilers, March 30th
Sometimes you’ve got to do whatever it takes. With Alex Edler lying on top of him, Luongo can’t slide across to get square to the shooter, do abandond his stick to swat away Taylor Hall’s shot with his blocker.
7 | Eddie Lack vs Chicago Blackhawks, December 20th
What is with Lack’s legs? He’s single-handedly (leggedly) making the kick save sexy again. This one’s his best of the last year thanks to the extra kick at the end to elevate his pad and rob the generically-named Ben Smith.
6 | Cory Schneider vs Phoenix Coyotes, February 26th
Lack may have the best legs, but Schneider’s glove hand is impeccable. While he doesn’t snag this one cleanly, it’s still an incredible glove save, taking the top corner away from Mikkel Boedker.
5 | Dan Hamhuis vs Columbus Blue Jackets, March 26th
Dan Hamhuis not only makes a road hockey kick save, but also a blind road hockey kick save. Outstanding work from the Community Man.
4 | Eddie Lack/Chris Tanev vs New York Rangers, November 30th
Lack and Tanev, good buddies that they are, team up to take away a sure goal from Brad Richards by fusing their sticks together to form a super-stick.
3 | Roberto Luongo vs Nashville Predators, March 14th
Luongo is overly aggressive in coming out to cut off the angle, but it’s understandable. After all, Shea Weber is known for his cannon of a slap shot. When Weber fakes the shot, Luongo makes a marvelous diving stick save, sending the puck out of play.
2 | Roberto Luongo vs San Jose Sharks, May 3rd
This was a goal, until suddenly it wasn’t. Pure desperation from Luongo, but it works. Raffi Torres’s goofy grimace of frustration is just the icing on the cake.
1 | Roberto Luongo vs San Jose Sharks, May 1st
This is an absolutely incredible save from Luongo and, if game one had gone a little differently, this save would have been seen as the turning point. As is, it’s still the best Canucks save of the last year.Tags: great saves