Hockey is a team sport, but that wasn’t really the case Thursday night in Raleigh.
In a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros stole the show — and the win — from his opponents. The Hurricanes poured a total of 67 shots on goal, and Saros stood on his head to make 64 saves, which broke a couple records as his team earned the 5-3 win.
Saros’ single-handed domination over Carolina has earned him the Predators franchise record for most saves in a single game, but the milestones don't stop there. The 27-year-old is just the second goaltender in NHL history to make over 64 saves in a win, and is just the sixth goaltender to record at least 60 saves, regardless of the outcome.
The only goaltenders in, again, NHL history, to register the same or more saves in a single regular season game are Ron Tugnett (70 in 1991), Mario Lessard (65 in 1981), and Joe Daley (64 in 1970). That is a crew of goalies that lived in an era where the shooters that they were facing were generally less talented than today’s players; but in turn, Lessard and Daley also played when goaltenders didn’t know they could put their pads on the ice.
To make Saros’ night even more impressive, he made some beautiful stops to add some quality to the overwhelming quantity of saves he had to make.
Humble as ever, Saros was straight to the point when asked what he was thinking out on the ice.
Yeah, Carolina certainly shot a lot of pucks, and that statement holds even more ground when compared to the Preds on Thursday.
It would still be impressive to earn the win if both teams were playing with no defense whatsoever and they provided a similar amount of offense, but Nashville was simply hemmed in their own zone for almost the entire game. Somehow, they managed to score four goals against the Canes’ Pyotr Kochetkov on just 24 shots, and then added an empty net goal. A one-sided game where the other side ended up scoring more goals.
Before making 64 saves and breaking records, Saros was also named as the Predators’ representative at this season’s NHL All-Star Weekend. If anyone had any questions as to why he was named, I think they got their answer just a few hours later.
Saros now owns a 14-10-5 record with a .918 save percentage and a 2.77 goals against average, as the Preds attempt to cover some ground as they sit three points back of a playoff spot. You would also not be surprised to hear that he leads the NHL in shots faced and saves made.
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