The 20 Best Plays from the First Quarter of the NHL Season

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor IFebruary 18, 2013

The 20 Best Plays from the First Quarter of the NHL Season

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    The NHL is a quarter of a way through the 2013 season and there have been some amazing moments, goals and plays like Damien Brunner's shootout goal and Marian Gaborik's hat trick winner against Boston that have stood out among the rest.

    Additionally there have been great goalie saves, passes and other moments that need to be recognized thus far.

    This weekend the NHL celebrated Hockey Day in America, and last week Hockey Weekend in Canada was celebrated, so today is a celebration of the best plays of the season to date.


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    The hash tag #TeemuForever has been used a lot this season by fans and writers because they simply want the Finnish Flash to play forever. 

    Selanne may be 42 years old but he hasn't shown signs of aging thus far in 2013. This sweet feed by Selanne to teammate Bobby Ryan is just a reminder of how great of a player Teemu is.

Rick Nash Slices Through Tampa Bay's Defense

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    Rick Nash has been as advertised for the New York Rangers in 2013 and he has been the team's best forward thus far.

    Against the Tampa Bay Lightning he scored a decisive goal that gave the team the lead and it was one of the nicest moves this season.

Damien Brunner's Amazing Goal in the Shootout

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    Damien Brunner's shootout goal was one of the best moments from the early NHL season, and it was so outstanding that it earned the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter's top-10 plays of the night.

    Brunner is a youngster with tons of skill and finesse, and he is a player who will be a true threat during the shootout.

Thomas Vanek Continues to Shine

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    This pass by NHL points leader Thomas Vanek will go down as one of the best of the year, let alone one of the best plays from the first quarter of the season.

    Vanek was able to make this pass from an awkward angle and Tyler Ennis capitalized.

Tic-Tac-Toe Pens Passing

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins have a pretty filthy offensive lineup and the duo of Evgeni Malkin and James Neal has been great in 2013.

    This highlight features some amazing passing before sniper James Neal lights the lamp for Pittsburgh.

    This was a play that featured a lot of continuity and teamwork and it illustrates how deep of a team the Penguins are.

Henrik Lundqvist Makes Save of the Year

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    Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the NHL and this save just reiterates that.

    The Boston Bruins thought they had taken a 3-1 lead over the Rangers, but Lundqvist absolutely robbed David Krejci with an amazing glove save.

    Lundqvist helped keep the team in the game even though they would eventually be defeated by the Bruins.

Pavel Datsyuk Continues to Amaze

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    Pavel Datsyuk is one of the greatest players in the world, and he just continues to amaze year after year. Jonathan Quick is one of the NHL's top goalies, but he had no chance against the magnificent Datsyuk.

    Datsyuk has amazing hands and a great release and he has had a great season to date.

Jimmy Howard Comes Up Huge with a Glove Save

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    The Detroit Red Wings have leaned on Jimmy Howard for a big part of the 2013 season, and he is one of the underrated goaltenders in the NHL.

    Howard is an athletic goaltender with a great glove hand, and he used that skill to his advantage while making this big save.

Marian Gaborik's Hat Trick Winner Against Boston Bruins

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    Marian Gaborik is one of the NHL's stealthiest snipers, and he is a player who used a ton of skill to score this goal.

    He used his speed to create separation and then his hand-to-eye coordination to bat the puck out of mid-air after his initial shot was denied by Tuukka Rask.

    This was just one of his highlight reel goals of the night, but it was certainly his best.

Jonathan Quick Denies Columbus

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    Jonathan Quick may have been beaten in an earlier slide by the ever-amazing Pavel Datsyuk but during this rush by the Columbus Blue Jackets, he came up big.

    Quick has an amazing glove, and he really made a highlight reel save in this clip.

Cam Atkinson Bursts Through the Zone

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    Cam Atkinson was tearing it up at the AHL level during the lockout, so he was very fresh when he was recalled by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    During this matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, Atkinson showed off his speed and acceleration as he burst through the zone to score this amazing goal.

New York Rangers' Top Line Connects

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    This goal against the Boston Bruins was a thing of beauty because it was a true effort of teamwork. 

    Michael Del Zotto started the play by shooting the puck up the ice, Brad Richards tipped it in, Rick Nash recovered it and Marian Gaborik sniped it in all in a matter of seconds. It was an amazing goal that took a ton of execution and skill.

Nathan Horton Cuts Through the Carolina Hurricanes

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    Nathan Horton has come back in a huge way for the Boston Bruins after he had been sidelined with concussion-like symptoms for the better part of the 2011-12 season.

    Horton is a strong player with great hands and he used all his skills when powering past multiple players to beat Cam Ward.

Kari Lehtonen's Save of the Year to Date

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    Kari Lehtonen was one of the NHL's best goaltenders last season before an injury derailed his momentum.

    Lehtonen has been huge for the Dallas Stars thus far in 2013, and he made one of the top saves of 2013 against Jack Johnson. 

Patrick Kane Shows Poise and Control on Great Assist

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    Patrick Kane has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 NHL season, and his game has been on a completely different level thus far.

    Kane is an amazing goal scorer and passer, but he really showed some great poise while skating with the puck before finding and passing the puck to Dave Bolland for a great goal.

Rick Nash's Shootout Wizardry

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    Rick Nash has always been known for his amazing moves during the shootout, and during his first attempt as a member of the New York Rangers he illustrated his amazing creativity. 

    Nash used his fantastic hands and reach to out-dangle Tuukka Rask and it was enough to ensure the Rangers would earn a victory in the shootout.

Ryan Miller Stones James Neal

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    James Neal is one of the NHL's top snipers and the Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the Eastern Conference's top teams.

    When the Pens faced off with the Buffalo Sabres during Hockey Day in America, the two teams battled back and forth until the end, and this amazing save by Ryan Miller helped keep the Sabres in the game.

Rick Nash Makes an Amazing Assist

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    Rick Nash makes another appearance on this list because he has had multiple highlight reel moments during the 2013 season to date.

    Nash drives hard to the net against the Boston Bruins in an attempt to score a goal similar to the one he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he ended up on the ice after a check.

    The Bruins thought he was down and out, but he then made the pass of the year to Carl Hagelin who scored his fourth goal of the season.

    This assist was so sick that Columbus Blue Jackets' GM Scott Howson was fired minutes after this amazing play.

Ilya Kovalchuk's Overtime Winner

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    Ilya Kovalchuk is one of the NHL's top snipers and his goal against the Washington Capitals was very impressive.

    Kovalchuk was at an awkward angle on the side of the net and he was able to snipe it past Michal Neuvirth with only seconds remaining in overtime.

Ilya Bryzgalov Makes a Pair of Saves

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    Ilya Bryzgalov has been better than expected for the Philadelphia Flyers and he made a pair of nice saves in this video against the New Jersey Devils.

    After making the first save, Bryzgalov gives up a rebound and then he gets back into position to make an amazing glove save on Adam Henrique.