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Save of the Night – Niklas Backstrom (February 5)

Feb 6, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

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Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

When it comes to team-building strategies, it seems like teams like the Philadelphia Flyers opt for a risky (but often fruitful) tight-rope system that involves making small monetary investments in goalies. The logic is simple: by saving money in net, the team is able to surround those goalies with a superior supporting cast.

There was some time when that seemed like such a great plan that it made teams who went with the opposite approach (spending big on “proven” goalies to camouflage roster blemishes) look downright silly to me. Of course, further inspection shows that there are many ways to skin that cat, though. (Although if forced to choose one path, I’d follow the Flyers model.)

The Minnesota Wild might be the ultimate example of the opposite approach: both starter Niklas Backstrom ($6 million annual cap hit) and backup Jose Theodore ($1 million) are among the most expensive goalies in their categories. Every once and a while, the Wild really get what they pay for. It might look like a relatively simple save, but Backstrom’s pad stop was an example of world-class reflexes and anticipation. That stop earned the Wild’s $6 million man the Save of the Night for February 5th.

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