Photo by Maurice DT, free to use under the Unsplash license.

Let’s take a moment and tip our caps (or helmets) to the unsung heroes of the NHL: the goalies. Yeah, those guys in the net who take pucks to the face, chest, and well… every imaginable body part. Today, we’re diving into the ten NHL goaltenders who quite literally carried their teams to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Source: NBC Sports YouTube

Patrick Roy (Montreal Canadiens, 1986 & 1993; Colorado Avalanche, 1996 & 2001)

Ah, Saint Patrick! At just 20, Roy led an underdog Canadiens team to Cup victory in ’86. He repeated the feat in ’93, then snagged two more with the Avs. His butterfly style set the benchmark.

Dominik Hašek (Detroit Red Wings, 2002)

The ‘Dominator’ lived up to his name. After stellar seasons with Buffalo, Hasek’s performance in the ’02 playoffs with the Wings was iconic, boasting six shutouts.

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Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins, 2011)

Remember that epic save against Vancouver? Thomas’s 2011 playoffs were historic, breaking the record for most saves in a postseason.

Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings, 2012 & 2014)

Quick was, well, quick in the net. He set a record for the Kings with three consecutive playoff shutouts in 2012 and then did it all over again in 2014.

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Billy Smith (New York Islanders, 1980-1983)

Smith’s aggressive style (sometimes even against opponents’ ankles) was crucial during the Islanders’ four consecutive Stanley Cup wins.

Ken Dryden (Montreal Canadiens, 1971-1979)

Dryden’s impressive stint included six Cup wins in eight seasons. Not too shabby for a rookie who jumped into the ’71 playoffs with only six regular-season games under his belt.

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Grant Fuhr (Edmonton Oilers, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)

As Wayne Gretzky’s Oilers were scoring aplenty, Fuhr made sure the opponents didn’t. He was essential during the Oilers dynasty years.

Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils, 1995, 2000, 2003)

Brodeur’s calm demeanor was the backbone of the Devils’ defense-first system, leading them to three Cup victories.

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Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Anaheim Ducks, 2007)

Though he won the Conn Smythe in 2003 despite the Ducks’ loss, Giguere’s true redemption came in 2007 when he backstopped the Ducks to their first Cup.

Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals, 2018)

“The Save” against Vegas in Game 2 will forever be etched in Caps’ lore. Holtby was a rock as Washington clinched their first-ever Cup.

From sprawling saves to clutch moments, these goaltenders proved that sometimes, the best offense is a brick-wall defense. Who’s your pick for the all-time best? Drop your gloves (or comments) below!

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