Pro Hockey Talk is taking a look back at the year in hockey. We’ll be presenting you with the best NHL goals, saves, stories, players and more as we remember 2021.
Goaltending in the NHL is as good — and perhaps even better — than it has ever been, and every year that elite talent at the league’s most important and valuable position is able to put on a show in keeping the puck out of their net.
Here we take a look back at the past calendar year and some of the best saves to happen in the across the league.
Quick gloves, incredible athleticism, desperation saves, and maybe even a little bit of luck and everything else that goes into a highlight reel save are all on display here.
Malcolm Subban dazzles two different times
Malcolm Subban did not play in a lot of games in 2021, splitting time between Chicago and Buffalo as a backup. Despite that lack of playing time he still made two of the most stunning saves of the year.
His first came in early January, 2021, when he made this desperation, diving stick save to rob Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn of what looked to be an automatic goal.
That save was spectacular, but then he somehow pulled off this wizardry a couple of weeks ago when he made this behind-the-back save against Evan Rodrigues of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Marc-Andre Fleury is never out of a play
Marc-Andre Fleury might be one of the most athletic goalies we have ever seen in the NHL, and the result of that can be some absolutely mind-bending saves that defy logic and reason.
He has a pretty lengthy career highlight reel, and he added it to it back in February when he did this against the Anaheim Ducks.
Joonas Korpisalo has had some big moments for the Columbus Blue Jackets and made his share of incredible saves.
This save against Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers is one of the most improbable and stunning.
Sergei Bobrovsky starts incredible overtime sequence
Sergei Bobrovsky’s tenure with the Florida Panthers has not always been what he or the team had hoped for, but he has been a lot better so far during the 2021-22 season.
Perhaps his best moment with the Panthers so far was this save in March when he made a sprawling blocker save in overtime against the Dallas Stars, setting the stage for an Aaron Ekblad game-winning goal just seconds later.
You do not need to be a goalie to make great saves
If the New York Islanders had been able to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Semifinals this Ryan Pulock game-saving play would have been legendary.
As it stands, it is still an amazing play that history will probably forget because the Lightning ended up winning the series.
Carey Price gets Montreal’s improbable Stanley Cup run started
The Montreal Canadiens shocked everybody by making an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final, thanks in large part to the incredible play of starting goalie Carey Price.
He helped the Canadiens overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it was saves like this against Jason Spezza that helped them start their run.
Braden Holtby still has it
The Dallas Stars entered the 2021-22 season with four NHL caliber goalies under contract with Braden Holtby, Jake Oettinger, Anton Khudobin, and Ben Bishop all on the roster. Holtby ended up being the surprising winner of that four goalie race, rebounding from a down year with the Vancouver Canucks
Here we see him make three consecutive saves late in a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Any one of these saves on their own would have been highlight reel worthy. Making all three of them in succession is remarkable.