It wouldn’t be all that shocking if the Stanley Cup final features the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Los Angeles Kings, and if that does end up being the head-to-head matchup to decide this season’s champion, goals aren’t going to come easy.
Both clubs’ respective goaltenders, the Lightning’s Ben Bishop and Kings’ Jonathan Quick, have been among the league’s best all season, and the duel between the two could turn into a memorable goaltending matchup. And if fans were looking for a taste of what both netminders can do, both Bishop and Quick turned in outstanding stick saves that left shooters lost for words.
Bishop’s save came with the visiting Maple Leafs on a power play four minutes into the opening frame. A cross-ice pass from Toronto’s P-A Parenteau found a wide-open William Nylander, which left the rookie with plenty of space. He waited until Bishop was down and defenseman Matt Carle had come far enough across to leave Maple Leafs winger Brad Boyes unchecked at the side of the net and feathered a pass that gave Boyes the entire cage to shoot at.
If Toronto fans watching had preemptively raised their arms in celebration, no one would have blamed them. But Boyes didn’t score. Instead, Bishop shot back to his right, reached out his paddle and got just enough of Boyes’ shot to steer it wide:
However, just as no one would have blamed Maple Leafs fans for cheering before Boyes had scored, it’s hard to fault the sold out crowd in San Jose for believing center Logan Couture had scored to give the Sharks the lead in the dying seconds of the second period.
A turnover late in the frame ended up right on the tape of Sharks winger Tommy Wingels, who had a partial 2-on-1 with Couture against Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Wingels made a great pass over to Couture and the Sharks alternate captain got his shot off quickly and accurately, but somehow Quick managed to slide to his right, get his paddle on the puck and knock it up, off the crossbar and out:
Watch Couture on the initial replay and you’ll notice even he thought he had scored before Quick’s save. And even if the shot didn’t go in, the deflection off of Quick’s stick looked like it was heading over the goal line only to catch the crossbar. Quick has made a habit of making jaw-dropping saves throughout his career, but this has to be in his career top-10.
If one stop has to be better than the other, the nod might have to go to Quick. Bishop’s stop was something, but Quick even had the shooter, Couture, thinking he had scored. Any save that makes the potential goal scorer start to celebrate before the realization they were robbed is excellent, and Quick’s edges out Bishop’s in that category.