2012 NHL All-Star Game and the 16 Highest-Scoring Games of the Season (Video)
Inspired by the 21 goals in Sunday's 2012 NHL All-Star Game, every hockey fan is now thirsty for more goals, higher scores and prettier offense.
We can fairly well guarantee that it's unlikely to happen. But to ease your newfound lust for scoring, how about checking out some of the highest-scoring regular-season games of the season?
From all the way back on October 8th, just two days after the season opener, hockey stars have lit up the goal horns (and the opposing goaltender's save percentage) in a torrent of electrifying showdowns.
The list is almost too long to cover, but we've picked out the 16 highest-scoring games for your pleasure.
Honorable Mention: Calgary Flames vs. Boston Bruins (Jan. 5)
This contest might not have hit the minimum mark of 11 combined goals, but it's hard to deny this horn-blaring evening from the list.
The Boston Bruins, who are 28-7-2 since starting the year 3-7-0, absolutely pummelled a severely outmatched Calgary Flames squad at TD Banknorth Garden.
You know by maybe the second goal that this game is over, but that doesn't stop an explosive Bruins offense from continuously skating circles around a number of lost Flames defensemen for the remaining 57 minutes.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers (Nov. 19)
Looking at the standings today, it's hard to imagine that this matchup would actually end in favor of the Edmonton Oilers.
They are 17-24-6, with their total of 38 points second-to-last in the league. In truth, the Oilers have gotten quite comfortable in that position. This is the third consecutive season that Edmonton has been stuck in the NHL's bottom two.
On the other hand, their opponent on this night, the Chicago Blackhawks, are just one point shy of the league lead with a 29-14-6 record and 64 points through 49 games.
Yet, it was the Oilers and their extremely youthful cast of forwards that dominated the 'Hawks back in November, racking up nine goals en route to an exciting victory.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Dec. 17)
Who needs Sidney Crosby?
That's what the Pittsburgh Penguins say...or at least said on December 17th.
On that night, NHL points leader Evgeny Malkin found the back of the net three times, all while allowing a variety of other teammates to record the Pens' other five goals.
The Buffalo Sabres, in the midst of a truly horrible season that began with hopes of a Stanley Cup run, proved to be no match for the Penguins.
Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks (Oct. 29)
If you're noticing a trend here, you're right.
Home teams are dominating our countdown, with this decisive Vancouver Canucks win giving the hosts a 4-0 mark, and counting.
"Decisive," however, might not accurately describe this high-flying match. The game was actually tied, 4-4, at the second intermission, as the 'Nucks and Washington Capitals traded goals by their respective surfeits of goal-scoring superstars.
Then Vancouver took control.
Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre all tallied in the first 11 minutes of the final frame, putting the Canucks on top for good.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Anaheim Ducks (Jan. 8)
Yep, that's right.
Home teams are 5-0.
In a battle of Western Conference lightweights—in terms of both record (17-26-4 and 18-22-7, respectively) and attendance (26th and 27th in the NHL, respectively)—the Anaheim Ducks ousted the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4 on January 8th.
Despite two goals from Columbus's Rick Nash (a.k.a. the only good player on the team), 2011 Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry notched a hat trick and invincible veteran Teemu Selanne landed two scores for himself as the Ducks prevailed.
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Oct. 17)
And, at last, the streak is broken, as the Florida Panthers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-4 in St. Pete Times Forum.
(It figures that the Lightning would break the streak, doesn't it?)
Since then, the streaky Panthers have fallen off the map quite a bit, but at the time, Florida was actually 3-1-0. Longtime Florida veteran Stephen Weiss recorded two tallies on this particular night, but the Cats' slew of new summer additions—including Kris Versteeg (two goals), Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim (one apiece)—truly stole the show.
This seven-goals-against outing was just the start of a horrendous defensive campaign for Tampa Bay , highlighted by a league-worst 3.40 goals-against-average.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Nashville Predators (Dec. 22)
The Columbus Blue Jackets failed to come out on top of this 11-goal contest, unlike their Jan. 8th effort, as the Western Conference's worst team collapsed in the Music City.
Columbus scored three goals on a five-minute power-play late in the first period to hold a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes of play, but slowly allowed the Nashville Predators to get back in the game.
Martin Erat's dramatic goal with nine seconds remaining gave the Preds the 6-5 victory and spoiled a Jeff Carter hat trick as the Jackets were sent home empty-handed.
Nashville, currently just three points behind the league lead, built on scores from six players in the win.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals (Oct. 10)
Few would have expected the tough times ahead for these two high-flying offenses, but the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals dueled valiantly against each other on merely the fifth night of the '11-'12 season.
The one-less-than-a-dozen goals were put on the board in fast and furious fashion. But Steven Stamkos, Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of the two squad's stars were actually held scoreless.
After Teddy Purcell opened the scoring just 2:22 in, both sides exchanged goals evenly until a shootout was called upon to decide the contest.
Washington's eventual 6-5 win continues the success of home teams in high-scoring affairs. The hosts have now won seven of the eight matches we've discussed so far.
Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Oct. 8th)
In yet another early-season battle, the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs kicked off their annual set of games with an impressive, goal-laden showdown.
Toronto held a 4-0 lead entering the third period, but the Senators quickly brought themselves back into contention. Ottawa captain Daniel Afredsson tallied twice, but was unable to balance out a Phil Kessel hat trick that helped the Leafs hold on for a 6-5 victory.
In the months since, both teams, who missed the playoffs last season, have put up strong numbers and fairly successful campaigns. The Sens and Leafs are tied for fifth and seventh, respectively, in the East.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks (Nov. 25)
Despite their lack of proximity in the standings of the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks' first visit to Anaheim proved harder to win than first expected.
A 4-2 advantage in favor of the hometown team failed to produce a win, though, as the 'Hawks stormed back with an impressive four-goal flurry early in the third period, and then held off the hungry Ducks to pick up the two points.
Patrick Sharp tallied a hat trick for Chicago and fellow first-liner Jonathan Teows added two more goals, while Anaheim's first line (Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry) produced three goals.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Montreal Canadiens (Oct. 15)
A back-and-forth battle in the Bell Centre delighted fans back on October 15th, but the end result was not what they were hoping for.
The Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadiens, two foes that rarely meet, exchanged goal for goal all night long; the game featured five lead changes and a largest deficit of one goal. Add in a concluding shootout to the evening of competition, and this 6-5 Colorado win had it all.
Oh, and there were 11 different goal-scorers, too. What more can you ask for?
Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Jan. 22)
The Boston Bruins, sporting a remarkable 15-7-0 record on the road, spoiled a Scott Hartnell hat trick as they took down their bitter out-of-division rivals on this exciting afternoon of hockey.
The Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 3-1, first-intermission deficit to lead 4-3 after 40, but couldn't pull out a victory in the third despite a plethora of opportunities. They then surrendered the game in the shootout.
In case you haven't noticed, visiting teams are now on a three-game winning streak. Oh, how times change!
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Calgary Flames (Dec. 6)
We get our first 13-goal game of the slideshow in this rather meaningless cross-conference matchup, as the Carolina Hurricanes (tied for 13th in the East) and Calgary Flames (11th in the West) fought for two much-needed points.
After Calgary jumped out to an early three-goal lead, the 'Canes began pestering the Flames ' defensemen and managed to stay in the game despite an extremely porous defensive effort on their part.
In fact, if not for Jarome Iginla's empty-net tally with 1:09 remaining, Carolina's two goals in the final minute would've been enough to heroically tie the score.
Due to odd situation of the game-winner being the empty-netter, Carolina backup goaltender Mike Murphy became the first goalie in NHL history to record a loss before allowing a goal.
Just don't ask us how.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars (Nov. 4)
In a contest of extreme lead changes, the Colorado Avalanche saw their initial two-goal advantage slip into a two-goal deficit before pulling ahead 5-4 in the third period despite eventually losing in overtime.
Yes, that was definitely a run-on sentence. But that's basically the story of this game.
Loui Eriksson added to his first-period score by shooting the overtime winner to send the fans at the American Airlines Center home happy.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Oct. 27)
15. That's how many sets of highlights you've already seen. And, indeed, each and every one offered a bit more goals than your average game.
But not a single one can challenge what the Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers did on October 27th.
Eventually finishing with a 9-8 score that surely led many to believe it was a typo, the Jets and Flyers simply went crazy. Winnipeg's 5-1, second-period lead went down the tube in a hurry, but the Jets managed to stay sane enough to remain competitive throughout.
Was it enough to win? You'll have to watch the highlights to find out.
Team Chara vs. Team Alfredsson (Jan. 29)
The 2012 NHL All-Star Game had everything. Need we say more?
Incredible goals. Amazing saves. Jaw-dropping passes. Mic'd-up players skating around on the ice. And Scott Hartnell getting tripped by his own team.
There's little doubt that any All-Star Game is a ton of fun. Yet, this one was something even more special. And you'll just have to see it to believe it.