Ranking the 10 Most Incredible NHL Goals of the Past Decade
Great goals stick with you. Like an awesome movie, you remember where you were and what you were doing the first time you saw it. That's one thing that all these clips have in common.
An undeniable wow factor that brings fans to their feet and puts jaws on the floor—regardless of who you're rooting for.
We sifted through hours of clips (and an unfortunate smattering of video game highlights...knock that off, no one cares about your "sick NHL 11 shootout move") on YouTube to present to you the top 10 goals of the last decade.
Of course, nothing could be more subjective than this. If you think we missed one, feel free to share a link in the comments. The Internet can be fun. It doesn't have to be war.
Also, we excluded shootout goals and only counted plays that happened during actual games. We could compile another list entirely made up of shootout goals, but for now we're sticking with things that went down during real contests.
10. Maxim Afinogenov Used to Be Pretty Good
With wheels live Pavel Bure, Maxim Afinogenov was capable of bringing excitement to the ice nearly every time he touched the puck. Unfortunately, the Russian was a bit of an enigma and never really seemed to put all the pieces together during his 10-year NHL career.
Afinogenov occasionally displayed flashes of brilliance, though. Take, for instance, this insane spinning goal against an unsuspecting Tampa Bay Lightning squad.
9. Pavel Datsyuk Doing What He Does Best
When you see hockey fans arguing that Pavel Datsyuk is a better forward than Sidney Crosby, this is why. Plays like this. No disrespect to No. 87, but he doesn't typically score his goals like this.
While both of them are beasts out on the ice, Datsyuk just has a knack for lifting sticks at the right time—and occasionally making goalies look rather silly.
Everything that Datsyuk brings to the table on a nightly basis is on full display here. Though he's revered for his shootout goals, this strip-and-score is just sick.
Talk about making something out of nothing. The fans don't even have time to get to their feet before he buries it.
8. Ryan O'Reilly Channels His Inner Denis Savard
The most recent goal on our list, this short-handed game-winner from Ryan O'Reilly is just gnarly. Yes, it loses a bit of its shimmer because it happens during the preseason, but the presence of mind here is outstanding.
After picking up the puck in the neutral zone, O'Reilly bulldozes his way toward the net. The defender does a good job of keeping his body between the charging forward and the net, but doesn't see the spin-o-rama coming.
Because, seriously, who does that? If this goal had been scored during a playoff game, it would be legendary. For now, it's just one of the top 10 goals of the last decade.
7. Evgeni Malkin Is an Absolute Bull
With several goals like this to his credit, Evgeni Malkin is no stranger to the highlight reel. Here, he takes the puck end to end, beats everyone himself and makes Dwayne Roloson look like the 42-year-old goaltender that he really was.
Malkin shrugs off three sticks on his way to the net and poor Roloson looks like a spectator on the play.
Geno draws comparisons to Mario Lemieux as per usual, finishing a rather spectacular all-around effort by lighting the lamp.
Not too shabby.
6. Peter Forsberg Looking Like an Unstoppable Force
It's easy to forget how much of a force Peter Forsberg was.
A lot of fans might remember him for his continued comeback attempts that always failed, but in his heyday (and for a while after it), there wasn't a more difficult player to knock off the puck.
As mean as he was talented, Forsberg would hold on to the biscuit until he pulled everyone to him, at which point he'd either torch them with a Hall of Fame-worthy sequence of moves or hit an open teammate with a slick pass.
Forsberg elects to keep the puck himself on this play, and the finish is nothing short of spectacular.
5. Sidney Crosby Is Better with 1 Hand on the Stick Than Most Players Are with 2
Give it a rest Sid. We get it. You're a hurricane of offensive prowess that has no limits. On this unreal play, Crosby picks up a pass in the neutral zone, looks up and realizes that he's surrounded by only three Toronto Maple Leafs.
So he does what any player would do. He dumps it in and goes for the ch...oh wait, no.
Instead, he charges in on Tomas Kaberle, makes him look like an overpaid clown and scores on Jonas Gustavsson. With only one hand on his stick.
Crosby has a pretty strong highlight reel to his credit, but we think this is one of the most ridiculous goals in recent memory.
4. Niklas Hagman Momentarily Turns into Superman
- He gets trucked by a referee. It takes a second for Hagman to figure out who the heck just ran him over. On his knees, he takes a moment to gather his senses.
- Still down from the incidental contact with the referee, the puck is dumped behind the net, nearly hitting Hagman in the face.
- Hagman, in the confusion of the moment, gets confused and thinks he's Steve Yzerman. He gains control of the puck in the corner, dekes through three Florida Panthers and buries it for the score.
Watch the video before you read the description. We'll wait.
OK. So, to recap, the following happens to Niklas Hagman on this play:
This is also the only record of the words "Finger" (as in, Jeff Finger) and "does well" being uttered in the same sentence together. Ever.
3. Bobby Ryan Humiliates Everyone in Nashville
We can just imagine what David Legwand is thinking as he tries to defend Bobby Ryan on this play. He must think to himself, "I've got you now" at least three separate times.
At first, Legwand only loses his stick as the storming Anaheim Duck drags the puck between his skates. "No biggie," thinks Legwand, as he charges back across to break up the play using only his hands.
Ryan, not satisfied with forcing the longtime Pred to drop his stick, then causes him to drop his dignity on the play as well.
It's just ugly if you're a Nashville fan.
2. Rick Nash with a Blackout Goal
Rick Nash has scored scored 310 career goals. While we haven't seen each and every tally, we can assure you that this one is the prettiest. From a technical standpoint, it's prettier than our No. 1 goal, though it's just a bit less ridiculous.
Still, we could watch Nash dance through these two poor Phoenix Coyotes all day.
Nash didn't leave a single move in the bag on this one, and it's made that much sweeter by the fact that it was a game-winner.
1. Like You Didn't Know
One of the most iconic highlights of the last decade belongs to Alex Ovechkin. What makes the goal so special is how unrepeatable it is. No one is going to try and do this on purpose, so this is literally the only time a goal like this will be scored.
The timing of the score couldn't have been much better either. The NHL was limping out of an entire lost season and needed some positive press badly.
Ovechkin delivered by scoring at a torrid pace. The Great Eight posted 52 goals in his rookie season, but this one received more airtime than all of those combined.