GLENDALE, AZ — Marek Langhamer became the 616th former ECHL player to reach the NHL last night when he made his debut with 15:31 left in regulation.
Arizona Coyotes starter Mike Smith had 27 saves on the night before being pulled early in the 3rd period. He’d taken a hit from Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg a few minutes earlier and concussion protocol warranted he be benched for observation.
Arizona head coach Dave Tippett made the call and entrusted Langhamer to preserve the 3-1 lead in the final period of regulation.
Through the majority of the period, Langhamer was putting the stops on every Ducks scoring opportunity. The Ducks were desperate, though, and pulled their netminder for the extra attacker and Ryan Getzlaf took advantage. Getzlaf scored his 11th goal of the season, and second goal of the night, when he rifled a shot through traffic beating Langhamer with 26.8 seconds left and cut the Coyotes lead to 3-2.
Luckily for the Coyotes Langhamer was able to shrug that one off and make the biggest save of his career, one that he’ll undoubtedly never forget.
Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen made a final attempt to send the puck by Langhamer but the netminder got his left pad on the puck with one second left to preserve the 3-2 win for Arizona.
“The puck dropped right in front of me and Corey Perry made a great play to put it backdoor, and I was just trying to rush to the back post,” said Langhamer. “I got there and was fortunate enough to make the save.”
The save was listed as the “Save of the Game” on the NHL recap of last night’s contest. Fans from the Rapid City Rush and Tucson Roadrunners, the ECHL and AHL affiliates of the Coyotes, have known just how special and talented this netminder is. Now the rest of the hockey world was able to witness it last night as well.
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