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Mid-Day Memories: Super Savers

A look back at those Capitals goaltenders who had high-volume save games.

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Some goaltenders thrive in the face of barrages of shots, and some do not. A reasonable standard of performance under a heavy workload is 40 saves. Here, we will look back at the “super savers” in Washington Capitals history, those goalies who have recorded at least 40 saves in a game. Some things you might not have known about this particular group:

  • There have been 25 goaltenders in Caps history to have recorded at least 40 saves in a game.
  • Those 25 goalies account for 112 games of 40 or more saves, with a record of 47-48-6 (ten ties).
  • The careful reader will note that while there were 112 games of 40 or more saves made by a Caps goalie, there were only 111 decisions. Ron Low stopped 43 of 50 shots in 45:15 of ice time in a relief role in a 12-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 15, 1975. However, it was Michel Belhumeur, who started and allowed five goals on 15 shots in 14:45 of ice time, who was charged with the loss. This was the only game in which a Caps goalie recorded 40 or more saves in a game while logging less than 58 minutes of ice time. Parenthetically, the 65 shots allowed by the Caps in this game is a franchise high for a regular season game.
  • Five goalies recorded at least ten games with 40 or more saves as a Capital. It would surprise few Caps fans than Olaf Kolzig had the most such games to date (20), posting a record of 11-3-2 (four ties) in those games.
  • The surprise among the five goalies with at least ten 40-save games is Brent Johnson. He played in 96 games as a Capital and posted 40 or more saves in ten of them, 10.4 percent of the total number of games he played for the franchise. He is the only Capital goalie to have played more than 50 games and have more than ten percent of them end in 40-save efforts. He was 4-4-2 in those ten games.
  • One Capital goalie allowed more than ten goals in a 40-save effort. It was Ron Low, who allowed 11 goals on 62 shots in an 11-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on April 1, 1976. Those 62 shots faced is a franchise high for a Caps goaltender in a single game.
  • The Caps have had seven instances of a goalie recording 40 or more saves in a game and earning a shutout. It was done by seven different goalies:

-Mike Palmateer: 44 saves in a 6-0 win at Philadelphia on December 21, 1980.

-Dave Parro: 44 saves in a 4-0 win at Hartford on November 14, 1981.

-Pete Peeters: 42 saves in a 3-0 win at Boston on March 13, 1988.

-Clint Malarchuk: 42 saves in a 1-0 win at Philadelphia on January 26, 1989.

-Olaf Kolzig: 40 saves in a 3-0 win over Tampa Bay on December 23, 2002.

-Brent Johnson: 46 saves in a 1-0 win at Ottawa on April 1, 2006.

-Tomas Vokoun: 42 saves in a 4-0 win over Florida on February 7, 2012.

  • Malarchuk’s shutout and that of Johnson, both 1-0 wins, were accomplished in regulation time games without the need of overtime.
  • A Capital goalie recorded at least 50 saves four times (Kolzig, Belhumeur, Low, and Peeters). None of them did it in a win. Kolzig and Peeters did it in games ending in a tie, Kolzig against Detroit on March 3, 2000 (52 saves in a 2-2 tie), and Peeters at the New York Rangers on January 4, 1989 (51 saves in a 3-3 tie).
  • Brent Johnson holds the franchise record for saves in a win, stopping 49 of 50 shots in a 5-1 win at Carolina over the Hurricanes on March 29, 2006.

The stories of the Capitals’ “super savers” are as diverse as the goalies.