Goal scoring is a big part of hockey, and so far in 2013-14, there have been a number of snipes that will contend for goal of the year. Whether it be Tomas Hertl's dirty dancing against the New York Rangers, or Phil Kessel's coast-to-coast effort against the New Jersey Devils, there have been a ton of sweet goals so far.
Every NHL team has had at least one great goal to start the season, and this slideshow will recap some of the best tallies early on in the 2013-14 campaign.
This may seem bland to you, but I found this to be a solid goal for the Anaheim Ducks. The clock was running out, and instead of panicking, Mathieu Perreault cradles a pass from his teammate before backhanding it past the goaltender for an overtime winner.
The San Jose Sharks entered this contest against the Boston Bruins with an undefeated record in regulation. It seemed like the game, which the Sharks dominated, was heading to overtime. However, with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation, David Krejci sweetly deflected a shot past goaltender Antti Niemi to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead and a victory in the process.
The Buffalo Sabres' top goal this year was scored by current New York Islander Thomas Vanek. Vanek is a skilled sniper, but he illustrated that he has a saucy pair of mitts. The former Sabre was handed a sweet feed from captain Steve Ott, and he put the finishing touches on this goal by sending the puck into the net while having his stick between his legs.
The Calgary Flames have played better than expected thus far in the 2013-14 campaign, and Mike Cammalleri has been one of the team's biggest bright spots. The Flames' top sniper scored on a solid one-timer in the above video, but it couldn't have been accomplished without a brilliant setup from linemates Jiri Hudler and Mikael Backlund.
This may seem like a lame goal to pick because it was scored on a five-on-three opportunity, but consider the following. Nathan Gerbe is 5'5" and 179 pounds, and he was left uncontested in the slot. He was not forcibly moved from in front of the goaltender, and he was able to score a power-play goal.
The fact that Gerbe remained untouched is what makes this a solid goal for me, but if you think there was a better goal scored by the Hurricanes, feel free to voice your opinion.
This goal was amazing for a number of reasons, and both Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad should be commended for their efforts. Words really can't adequately describe how awesome this goal was, so you can stop reading and watch this video over and over again.
Matt Duchene is one of the NHL's most electrifying players, and the above goal was nothing out of the ordinary for the Colorado Avalanche star center. Duchene is a solid two-way player, and he was in a position to score this goal because he made a strong defensive play. After corralling the puck, Duchene blasted by the Nashville Predators and scored a sweet goal past Carter Hutton.
Brandon Dubinsky is a hard-working forward who is thriving with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In this video, Dubinsky skates the puck in, drops it off, regains control, cuts past defenders and eventually puts home a rebound with his backhand. Dubinsky did a lot of good things here, and it was a solid effort by everyone involved.
Jamie Benn is a leader for the Dallas Stars, and he is their best all-around player. The Stars expect big things out of their franchise player, and team brass must have been thrilled after watching Benn score this goal. The Stars captain made a strong defensive play to gain control of the puck, and then he weaved in and out of the Detroit Red Wings defense before beating Jimmy Howard with a nice snipe.
Pavel Datsyuk is a wizard, and he is also a professional shame artist. He makes a living by making his opponents look bad, and that is exactly what happened here. The Dallas Stars' Shawn Horcoff was completely victimized by the Magic Man, and goaltender Kari Lehtonen had no chance of stopping this amazing wrist shot.
Taylor Hall is one of the NHL's top young snipers, and he is an integral part of the Edmonton Oilers. During this game, the Oilers fell behind 3-0 against the New Jersey Devils, but they didn't go down without a fight. In this clip, Hall makes the most of the space he has, and he slides the puck past Martin Brodeur to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead.
Spin-o-ramas have become commonplace in the shootout, but they are seldom used during regulation. Against the Anaheim Ducks, forward Shawn Matthias decided to try the move, and to the surprise of many, he put the puck in the net. This is not something you see everyday, and for that reason, it is the Florida Panthers' best goal thus far in the 2013-14 season.
Mike Richards is an underrated two-way scorer, and during this game against the Phoenix Coyotes, things got crazy. The Los Angeles Kings scored four straight, and then the Coyotes scored four of their own to get back into the game. It looked like the Coyotes' momentum would continue on this power play, but Richards stole the puck and potted a sweet backhander past goaltender Mike Smith.
Nino Niederreiter was acquired this offseason by the Minnesota Wild, and thus far he has made the most of his new life at the NHL level. The Swiss-born scorer used his quick hands while scoring this goal, and he completely froze Justin Peters in his crease. Mikael Granlund set up Niederreiter with a sweet pass, but the finish was even sweeter.
Brendan Gallagher is a very good two-way player who completely exploited the Edmonton Oilers in this video. The Oilers attempted to clear the puck out of the zone, but Gallagher intercepted the puck at the top of the blue line. He then darted into the zone and sniped a shot past Devan Dubnyk after some fancy stick work past the Oiler defense.
The Nashville Predators have not had a number of entertaining goals this year, but this one got my attention. The period is winding down, but Patric Hornqvist is able to play a pass off the boards before sniping a wrist shot from the faceoff circle.
Jaromir Jagr is no spring chicken, and his game has regressed from where it once was. In this clip, Jagr steals the puck and is able to create some distance between himself and his defender. In typical Jagr fashion, the New Jersey Devils put up their second of the game after No. 68 beat Ben Bishop with a sweet little wrister.
Jagr has made a living scoring goals like this, and it is great to see the veteran still contributing at the NHL level.
Frans Nielsen is known for his defensive strengths, but this year he has really played well offensively. In the above clip, Nielsen gets near the net and uses his smooth hands to backhand a shot past the goaltender from a very tight angle.
It was a great effort by Nielsen, and he deserved to be rewarded with a goal.
There was a lot of teamwork illustrated in this video, and it culminated in an amazing goal by J.T. Miller. Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh were able to weave the puck past the Florida Panthers' defense, and it culminated with Miller being wide open on the blocker side of Tim Thomas.
The New York Rangers have gotten better as the season has progressed, and this goal is a great symbol of their teamwork.
The Ottawa Senators acquired Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur during the offseason, and the two forwards connected on a goal in the above highlight.
Ryan gained control of the puck and was able to create some space for a trailing MacArthur, and then the former Toronto Maple Leaf put the puck in the net after executing a wraparound on Evgeni Nabokov. It was a pretty sweet goal, and it was nice to see the two offseason acquisitions team up for a goal.
Vincent Lecavalier was signed this offseason after being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it has looked like a tremendous signing to date. The former Lightning captain recorded a hat trick during this game against the New York Islanders, and his last goal was pretty impressive.
While falling down to the ice, Lecavalier has the wherewithal to make enough contact to drive the puck into the net.
It doesn't matter that this was an empty-net goal. Mike Smith scored an awesome goal, and it was scored in the most unlikely way. The Phoenix netminder gloved a shot, dropped it to the ice and cascaded the puck down the ice and into the goal just as time expired.
Among goaltenders, Smith is one of the NHL's top puck-handlers, and he finally scored his first career goal.
After watching almost every goal scored by the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, it was evident that not one goal really stood out above the rest. For that reason, this penalty-shot goal was selected because it was different.
It was also chosen because Kunitz worked very hard to earn this opportunity, and he ultimately was rewarded for his efforts.
Even the most casual fan has seen this goal by now, and that is because of the bravado that Tomas Hertl displayed on this shot. He already had a hat trick in the bag, but he decided to get fancy for goal No. 4. It was a very sweet shot, and Hertl made quite the name for himself against the New York Rangers.
Alex Steen has had an amazing start to his season, and he just keeps scoring goals. There have been a number of nice power-play snipes scored by Steen, but this even-strength strike was pretty nice. Steen is able to control the puck, and put it past the goaltender in one fluid motion.
Steven Stamkos is a great sniper who is also one of the best players in the NHL. He is out indefinitely after suffering a devastating injury against the Boston Bruins, and after watching this video, you realize how much the Tampa Bay Lightning will miss not having their star in the lineup.
Phil Kessel is one of the NHL's top young goal scorers, and this snipe against the New Jersey Devils was filthy. The Toronto Maple Leafs winger decides to take care of things himself, and he goes coast to coast before putting the puck past Cory Schneider.
The Vancouver Canucks' power play has not been very good thus far in 2013-14, but the Canucks were able to score with the extra man on this attempt. The Sedin twins made some magic with some tic-tac-toe passing, and it culminated with Daniel putting the puck in the back of the net.
Alex Ovechkin is one of the NHL's top scorers, and he went to work against the Winnipeg Jets. In the second period, Ovi was given a breakaway chance, and he made the most of the opportunity. With only the goalie in front of him, Ovechkin put on the moves and got the Capitals a much-needed goal.
Evander Kane is a young star in the making, and he is off to a solid start this year with the Winnipeg Jets. Kane is known primarily for his offense, but he was able to take advantage of a shorthanded chance in this video.
The Winnipeg Jets winger carries the puck up the ice and finishes off his shift with a nice shorthanded goal against Cory Schneider.