The Florida Panthers are facing off against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, in a battle between two of the NHL’s best teams this season. It’s no surprise that one of the top plays of the year would take place in such a game. What is surprising is who made that play. Lucas Carlsson, a 24-year old Swedish defenceman, is playing in just his 44th career game tonight, and just his 26th with the Panthers. He’s having a good season, 2 goals and 8 points, but nothing he’s ever done – or likely ever will do – is going to top this:
Lucas Carlsson IN 👏 THE 👏 CLUTCH 👏 pic.twitter.com/4g16dAsmFe
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 17, 2022
In the second period, with the Panthers down 1-0, Jacob Slavin took a shot from the point, which Bobrovsky kicked out, but not without giving up a juicy rebound to Jesperi Kotkaniemi who was left standing alone in front of the net. Kotkaniemi hoists a backhand toward the wide-open goal, but Lucas Carlsson comes flying through the crease behind Bobrovsky and knocks the puck out of the air with the shaft of his stick. That alone would be a save of the year candidate, but it’s not even the most impressive part of this play. You see, Steven Lorentz was circling behind the net during this sequence, and pops out to Bobrovksy’s left to take a swat at the puck out of mid-air. Lorentz actually connects and sends yet another shot towards the Panther’s open goal, but Carlsson is still there in the crease. He manages to swing his stick over his head and knock the puck out of the air with the shaft of his stick again, sending it flying away from the net and out of danger.
You’ll never see a play like this again. The combination of luck and skill on display here is simply impossible to reproduce. The frequency with which defencemen make goal-saving plays has gone up in recent years, but few of them hold a candle to Carlsson’s play here. Even goalies are going to have trouble topping this save. What a play by Lucas Carlsson.
Photo credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports