Playing a deep team like the Pittsburgh Penguins is a nightmare for a goaltender on many different levels. It’s even more terrifying when your team continually surrenders breakaway chances to them.
That’s just what the Canadiens did in a late March match up at PPG Paints arena, as they gave up multiple breakaway chances over the course of the game. Unfortunately for the Penguins, they hadn’t counted on Antti Niemi showing up in top form and shutting down their chances with seemingly relative ease.
Perhaps none was more impressive than his third period stop on Bryan Rust however, where two quick saves in succession kept the Canadiens in a close game.
Rust has split through the Canadiens defence and has broken in entirely uncontested on Niemi. He tries to first beat the Canadiens netminder through the five-hole, which is stopped by the Finnish goalie. The impressive part is the follow-up save Niemi makes, which comes as the rebound goes back to Rust, who then tries to beat him glove-side. Niemi flashes the leather and snares the puck out of midair and saves a surefire goal for the Penguins.
It wasn’t Niemi’s only breakaway save in this contest, but the quickness and reaction time he displayed on shutting this one down makes it arguably his best of the game.