Talk about a time to pull off your most spectacular save of the season, perhaps the most spectacular save of the 2017-2018 National Hockey League season overall in fact.
On Monday night the Boston Bruins were facing off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 3 of their first round playoff match in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and for the Bruins it was an opportunity to take a 3 - 0 stranglehold on the series. Unfortunately for the Bruins though the Toronto Maple Leafs decided to show up for the first time in this series and were eventually able to walk away with a win.
That win came thanks in large part to Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen who has some truly outstanding moments during what was a very tightly contested game between both teams. Andersen faced a whopping 42 shots in Game 3 and stopped 40 of them, on his way to a save percentage of .952, an extremely solid performance. Meanwhile his counterpart Tuukka Rask, who has been very solid in the series thus far, had an off night where he allowed 4 goals on the 30 shots he faced for a save percentage of .867.
There was no bigger moment in the game though than the save that Andersen made in the final two minutes of the game, circumstances that only further add to the magic that was what may go down as the best save of this NHL season. Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak thought he had a surefire goal on his stick when he fired the puck, a goal that would have brought the Bruins, who were down 4 - 2 at the time, back within just a single goal of the Maple Leafs but Andersen completely shut the door.
Andersen had just slid to the opposite side of the net as he searched for the puck through considerable traffic in front of his crease, and it was only at the very last moment that he saw the puck arrive on Pastrnak's stick. At that point it should have been too late for him to do anything about an easy goal for Pastrnak, but instead he refused to give up on the play and dove across his crease, sticking out his paddle in the process. Pastrnak fired the shot at the Maple Leafs net but unbelievably it never managed to cross the goal line, instead landing on Andersen's stick for a heart stopping save in the playoffs.
Pastrnak fell to the ice in complete and utter disbelief and frankly I can't blame him in this particular situation, there is no way anyone could have reasonably expected Andersen to get back in time to make this save. The crowd in Toronto exploded at the initial save, but the collective cheer they let out after the replay was shown on the big screen is one of the loudest you're ever going to hear at the Air Canada Center. Even the players on the Toronto bench could be seen staring up at the big screen during the replay, and shaking their heads in disbelief after the fact.