Every 2013 NHL Playoff Team's Most Memorable Moment
In terms of pure volume, more than half of this year's playoff games are now complete and eight teams have already been pushed to the sidelines. Along the way, we've seen stars make mistakes, underdogs catch our eye and one of the most stunning comebacks in the history of our game.
As we progress, the stakes will get higher, but there's no complaining about the entertainment and intensity factors of the games that already make up the lore of the 2013 postseason.
Here's a look at the most memorable moment for each playoff team so far. If there's something that's even bigger in your mind, please share it with us in the comment section below.
All game and series info courtesy of nhl.com.
Memorable Moment: Friday, May 10
Round 1 Game 6: Ducks come back to tie game 3-3 but fall in overtime
With a 3-2 series lead, the Anaheim Ducks headed back to Detroit with the idea of wrapping Round 1 and moving on.
The Detroit Red Wings put up a good fight, staking a 3-1 lead by the midway point of the third period. But the Ducks got two late tallies to send the game to overtime with momentum on their side.
Not so fast. It took Detroit just 1:04 of overtime for Henrik Zetterberg to fire the winning goal past Jonas Hiller. The Red Wings triumphed in Game 6 and sent the Ducks packing for good two days later in Anaheim.
Memorable Moment: Monday, May 13
Round 1 Game 7: The ultimate comeback.
Not much doubt here. The Boston Bruins erased a 4-1 Game 7 deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs and move on to Round 2 of the playoffs. It's a rare accomplishment and made for riveting television.
Rather than letting down after such a hard-fought victory, Boston has kept its momentum going as the playoffs have progressed. The Bruins have grabbed a 2-0 series lead against the Rangers, and viewers can see team bonds growing tighter before our very eyes.
Memorable Moment: Wednesday, May 15
Round 2 Game 1: Domination of Detroit
The Chicago Blackhawks had a relatively easy time dispensing of the Minnesota Wild in Round 1 of the 2013 playoffs. Would they show the same dominance against a surprising—and quickly improving—squad from Detroit?
After Game 1, the answer was yes. The teams played a tight game into the third period before Chicago broke the game open on goals from lesser-lights Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger. Patrick Sharp added the empty-net cherry on top, and it looked like the Hawks would easily punch their ticket to the conference final.
Two losses later, this series has become a lot more interesting. Good or bad, it's safe to say that Chicago's most memorable playoff moment of 2013 is still to come.
Detroit Red Wings
Memorable Moment: Monday, May 20
Round 2 Game 3: Wings lead Hawks
The Detroit Red Wings surprised when they upset the Anaheim Ducks in seven games in Round 1.
Did anybody expect them to be leading the Chicago Blackhawks two games to one in their second-round series?
On Monday night, the Hawks kept Zetterberg quiet, but two goals in 31 seconds in the second period gave Detroit a sweet win in front of their hometown fans and a real chance to advance to the conference final during their final year as part of the Western Conference brigade.
Los Angeles Kings
Memorable Moment: Tuesday, April 30
Round 1 Game 1: Quick hands Blues the win
The 2012 Stanley Cup winners got their championship defense off to a rough start when Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick cost them Game 1.
The Kings battled to a 1-1 draw against the St. Louis Blues. With L.A. on the power play in overtime, Quick went behind his net to control a loose puck. His clearing attempt bounced off Alexander Steen's skate, and the Blues forward wasted no time depositing the loose biscuit into the empty net for the win.
The Kings overcame that gaffe, winning the series in six games, and Quick is now back to his typical position among the playoff goaltending leaders. The rarity of a giveaway like we saw in Game 1 is the reason why it's so memorable.
Memorable Moment: Monday, April 29
Round 1 Game 1: Josh Harding steps in for Backstrom
The Minnesota Wild fought hard to grab the last playoff spot in the Western Conference and were rewarded by a date with the Presidents' Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks.
If that wasn't daunting enough, Wild starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom became unavailable even before the first puck drop after injuring himself in the warmup for Game 1.
Enter Josh Harding, the backup goaltender who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last summer and played just five regular season games in 2012-13 as he learned how to manage his condition.
Harding stepped in like a superhero, backstopping the Wild to an early 1-0 lead and laying down a .946 save percentage before the Wild eventually fell 2-1 to the Hawks in overtime.
His performance in Game 1 gave the Wild and their fans hope for the series.
Memorable Moment: Thursday, May 2
Round 1 Game 1: Gryba wipes out Eller
The aftermath was hard to watch. A huge open-ice hit by Ottawa Senators' defenseman Eric Gryba at 13:28 of the second period of Game 1 left Montreal's Lars Eller lying broken on the ice and shook the Bell Centre to its core.
The Habs had scored their first goal of the series just 19 seconds earlier, tying the game 1-1. Gryba's hit sucked away every ounce of forward momentum, leaving the team and its fans shaken and scared.
Gryba served a two-game suspension and Montreal came back to win Game 2, but the hockey gods weren't on the Habs' side this year. The hit was the beginning of the end.
New York Islanders
Memorable Moment: Tuesday, May 7
Round 1 Game 4: Isles tie series and chase Fleury
Much like the Wild, the New York Islanders were supposed to be satisfied to be invited to the dance. They weren't supposed to make much noise against the Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
One win for the Isles was nice, but when they overcame a 4-3 deficit in Game 4 to lay down a decisive 6-4 win and tie their series, people took notice.
Long-suffering fans at the old Nassau Coliseum partied like it was 1983. Even Penguins management paid attention, benching their Cup-winning starter Marc-Andre Fleury in favor of backup Tomas Vokoun.
The Islanders didn't have enough magic to grab another win, but on May 7, they announced that they had truly arrived.
New York Rangers
Memorable Moment: Sunday, May 12
Round 1 Game 6: Lundqvist and Brassard force Game 7
Facing elimination in their first round series against the Washington Capitals, Derick Brassard scored the only goal the New York Rangers needed in Game 6 to keep their playoff dream alive.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 27 shots he faced and followed that up with a 35-save shutout in Game 7 to advance the Rangers over the Capitals for the second straight year.
Memorable Moment: Sunday, May 19
Round 2 Game 3: Alfredsson's Shorthanded Goal Forces Overtime
On Sunday, the Ottawa Senators were 31 seconds away from falling behind 3-0 in their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins when 40-year-old Daniel Alfredsson slipped in behind the lackadaisical Pittsburgh defense to flip a Milan Michalek feed past Tomas Vokoun. That tied Game 3 and sent it to overtime.
Two periods and 18 Craig Anderson saves later, Colin Greening became the hero when he scored to give the Senators a 2-1 win and fresh life in the series. With Sunday's victory, the Senators showed that they won't go down without a fight.
Memorable Moment: Saturday, May 11
Round 1 Game 6: Orpik in OT wins the series
The Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves in a serious fight against the upstart New York Islanders in Round 1. Down 3-2 late in the third period of Game 6, the Penguins were at risk of allowing the Islanders to tie the series and send it back to Pittsburgh for a winner-take-all Game 7.
Paul Martin scored at 14:44 of the third to send the game to extra time, where Brooks Orpik was the unlikely hero. The big defenseman made his first-ever playoff goal count, as the Penguins grabbed a 4-3 win in the game and a 4-2 win in their series.
San Jose Sharks
Memorable Moment: Saturday, May 18
Round 2 Game 3: Couture's OT goal puts Sharks back in series
After watching a 3-2 lead in Game 2 of their series against Los Angeles vanish due to a series of unfortunate events, the San Jose Sharks put forward a determined effort in Game 3 and were rewarded with an overtime win.
Logan Couture has arguably been the Sharks' best playoff perfomer so far, so there was great concern when he left Game 3 in the second period with what appeared to be a leg injury.
Luckily for San Jose, Couture was able to return, and even more luckily, he found the puck on his stick early in overtime and made no mistake. The Sharks lived up to their reputation as a tough team at home and let the Kings know they weren't going away quietly.
St. Louis Blues
Memorable Moment: Tuesday, May 2
Round 1 Game 2: Jackman puts Blues up 2-0
It looked like things would be different this year. After being swept by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the 2012 playoffs, the St. Louis Blues served notice that they'd come to play when Barret Jackman's last-minute wrist shot from the top of the circle beat Jonathan Quick to give the Blues two home ice wins to open their series.
But that was all she wrote. The Kings went on to even the series back at the Staples Center and keep the ball rolling, ultimately winning the series by a 4-2 margin.
Right after Game 2 though, things sure did feel good for the Blues.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Memorable Moment: Sunday, May 12
Round 1 Game 6: Win at the ACC to tie series 3-3
After a heartbreaking overtime loss at the Air Canada Centre in Game 4 which put the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-1 hole, they won Game 5 in Boston, then came home to win Game 6 and push the series to the brink.
The young Leafs looked like they'd outworked and outskated the Bruins—beaten them down. Finally, a home win for their long-suffering fans to enjoy.
The celebration was short-lived. The expiry date was about 59 minutes into Game 7.
Memorable Moment: Sunday, May 5
Round 1 Game 3: Schneider's Meltdown
Vancouver's supposed No. 1 goaltender, Cory Schneider, missed the first two games of the Canucks' playoff series with San Jose due to a groin injury suffered late in the regular season.
Roberto Luongo played well in his absence, but the Canucks came up losers in both contests.
Schneider's return to the net was not without controversy, but he hung in well for two periods.
Vancouver entered the third period of Game 3 behind by just one goal. That changed in a hurry when San Jose fired three pucks past Schneider in the first 4:07. Luongo took over from there, but that short stretch dropped the curtain on Vancouver's season and should signal big changes ahead for the Canucks.
Memorable Moment: Wednesday, May 8
Round 1 Game 4: Worst. Hit. Ever.
The Washington Capitals held a 2-1 lead in their series against the New York Rangers but were down 1-0 in the late stages of Game 4 when dangerous Derek Stepan broke towards the net shorthanded.
With two forwards back, Alex Ovechkin and Martin Erat both tried to get physical with Stepan. They prevented a goal and the team successfully killed the two penalties they incurred, but Erat crashed into the net after the impact and was injured.
He didn't return for the rest of the playoffs, while the Rangers held on to win Game 4 and eventually take the series in seven games. The Capitals' unfortunate turning point was a messy ending to a season they thought they'd salvaged.
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