Martin Jones played the best game of his NHL career last night, stopping a staggering 47 shots in San Jose's miracle 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. 47 saves is tied for the sixth-most in San Jose history according to hockey-reference.com, but where does this game lie in best net-minding performances all time for the Sharks?
I know that's subjective, so at least for the purposes of this top-five list, here's what I'm looking at. First, only games where the goalie made at least 40 saves were considered. 20-shot shutouts are awesome accomplishments, but they pale in comparison to what Jones did on Monday night. From there, I sorted the list by save percentage. Is that overly simple? Yeah, but it's a good start.
5. Martin Jones, 3/7/16 vs. Calgary Flames
This is an absolutely gorgeous pair of saves by Jones as he denies Johnny Gaudreau off a rebound to keep the Sharks on top. San Jose, as you know, went on to win this game 2-1 as Jones' only tally against was a 6-on-4 goal with just over a minute remaining.
4. Steve Shields, 10/14/99 vs. Nashville Predators
Shields stopped all but one shot by the Predators in a 51-save effort as the Sharks managed to win 5-1 despite being outshot 52-23. Not bad. Unfortunately I couldn't find any videos of this performance, but...well, this is a pretty good highlight.
3. Evgeni Nabokov, 1/12/06 vs. Ottawa Senators
Another great performance without a highlight video on the Internet, Nabokov made 40 saves in a shutout against the Senators. This is one of nine 40+ save games by Nabby while with the Sharks.
2. Antti Niemi, 3/16/14 vs. New York Rangers
Niemi notched 41 saves in this 1-0 shutout effort, taking down the Rangers in one of his eight 40+ save performances for the Sharks. If you're surprised that Niemi is on this list, wait until you get a load of who's at No. 1. Stop peeking. Sigh, this is why we can't have nice things.
1. Troy Grosenick, 11/16/14 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
The 2014-15 season is one best forgotten by Sharks fans, but Troy Grosenick's debut performance in mid-November provided a brightish spot for a team that sorely needed one. Grosenick's second game with San Jose wasn't quite so memorable, and he hasn't played in an NHL game since, but his debut is the best in San Jose history.
I'm sure this rather reductionist method left off some good ones — so drop them in the comments and I'll add them below in an honorable mention section.
Antti Niemi, 10/21/13 vs. Detroit Red Wings
The Sharks first goal didn't come until the shootout — that was enough because of Antti Niemi. In particular his save to win the game on Todd Bertuzzi is one of the best I've ever seen in the shootout.