Hockey, more so than any other sport, is known for it's iconic moments. Everything about the game is set up for it. The Stanley Cup Trophy itself is an icon which needs no explanation. Just show fans a picture of it and a thousand memories come rushing forward.
There have been many epic moments in the history of the NHL.
There are great goals, great games and great smiles as some team captain gets to hoist the greatest trophy in sports.
Each team, regardless of how many cups they have won, has moments like these.
Moments that come to mind when you hear the team name or see the sweater.
It is these moments that bring us back to the rinks each year, and it is these moments that make us lose sleep come playoff time.
What follows is the top iconic moment for each NHL franchise.
Feel free to add any in the comments section.
The Ducks don’t have a long history in the NHL but they have made two Stanley Cup finals appearances and in 2007 they won the whole thing.
That Ducks team was a tough physical team that rolled through the Western Conference and through Ottawa in the finals.
Here is the best and most iconic moment in Ducks history, the final seconds and celebration of winning it all.
Despite winning the cup this past season by far the most iconic moment in Bruins history is Bobby Orr’s overtime, flying Cup winning goal in 1970 against the Blues.
When a moment is immortalized in statue and in almost ever NHL highlight package it makes the list.
Orr is an icon not only in Boston, but in Canada and around the league. This is his most memorable moment.
The Buffalo Sabres most iconic moment might be Brett Hull beating them with his controversial foot in the crease.
However, the Sabres have had some great winning moments as well.
Long before the Hull play, in the 1974-75 playoffs, Danny Gare scored a huge overtime winner against Montreal, beating legendary Ken Dryden. This goal propelled Buffalo into the their first Stanley Cup Finals against the Flyers.
Hall of Fame player Lanny McDonald was always a fan favorite no matter where he played. Known for his walrus like mustache McDonald joined the Flames in 1981 and was one of their most popular players.
The 1988-89 season was to be his last and the Flames went out and won the Stanley Cup and McDonald scored the game winning goal in the final game.
There is no bigger moment in Flames history than the smile on McDonald’s face when he finally gets to hold the cup after 18 seasons.
Since moving from Hartford the Hurricanes have been one of the NHL’s biggest success in the South.
In Carolina they have, arguably, experienced more great moments than they ever had in Hartford.
The Whalers struggled, but as Hurricanes they have made two finals appearances with one big win in 2006.
The biggest and most iconic moment? The Stanley Cup celebration as the clock winds down in 2006.
The Blackhawks have a long and storied history. As an original six franchise they have the most iconic sweaters and one of the best national anthem traditions around.
Despite all that , their most iconic moment may in fact only be a couple of years old.
After a forty-nine year championship drought no Chicago fan will ever forget Patrick Kane streaking down the ice celebrating the cup-winning goal that not many on the ice saw.
Ray Bourque joined the Avalanche via a trade at the end of the 1999-2000 season. One of the best defenseman ever to play the game, and beloved by fans everywhere, he had never won the Stanley Cup.
He had made a well known point of not ever touching it, despite many opportunities, until he won it.
As Bourque and the Avalanche won the cup in the 2000-2001 season all anyone wanted to see was Bourque with the trophy.
In one of the greatest moments in sports, captain Joe Sakic got the cup and immediately handed it to Bourque who took a long awaited skate with it.
The Blue Jackets haven’t had much success in the NHL.
OK, they have had no success so far.
So finding an iconic moment is less obvious than teams with big Stanley Cup wins.
In 2009 however, Rick Nash (the most iconic Blue Jackets player) scored a goal that still makes almost every highlight reel imaginable.
In the 1999 Stanley Cup finals Brett Hull scored the game and series winning goal in the third overtime.
The goal was not without a world of controversy, which still rages to this day.
Some, mostly in upstate New York, will tell you that his skate was clearly in the crease, which by the rules then should mean no goal.
Either way, in the crease or no, it is an iconic moment for Hull and the Stars as they won the Cup.
The Detroit Red Wings are another franchise that has had many moments in their history that define hockey.
This is the franchise that Gordie Howe played for and whose fans made throwing sea life on the ice famous.
In 1996 one of the franchise's best scored a memorable and iconic goal, after taking the puck away from Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman blasted a slap shot that beat the St. Louis Blues in overtime.
The shot and the celebration have become iconic not only for Detroit but for the NHL as well.
When your franchise was home to the greatest player in hockey history, Wayne Gretzky, there isn’t too far to go in order to find an iconic moment.
Gretzky had his best seasons with the Oilers winning four championships and for a while Edmonton was the capital of hockey.
You could almost pick any moment Gretzky stepped on the ice as an Oiler as Edmonton’s most iconic moment but in 1981 he scored his fiftieth goal in only game 39, which smashed the previous record.
Scoring on an empty net Gretzky is mobbed by his teammates in a great moment.
There is not a whole lot of great moments in Florida Panthers history to call out as iconic.
However, in 1996 they made the Stanley Cup finals in their first playoff appearance.
In the first round they beat the Boston Bruins on this impressive and memorable goal by Bill Lindsey.
Hopefully, the tide will turn in Florida and the Panthers will have many moments to choose from in the future.
The Kings broke every heart in Edmonton when they acquired Wayne Gretzky in 1988. Gretzky, in turn, ignited interest in hockey in California and the rest of the United States in ways never seen before.
In 1993 Gretzky sat poised to break Gordie Howe’s scoring record and he got it done in, of all places, Edmonton.
Seeing Gretzky leap for joy and the visiting crowd cheer is easily the most memorable moment of the Kings history…if you don’t count Barry Melrose’s mullet.
During the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Wild became the first team to come back from two 3-1 deficits and win a series.
They did it in the first two rounds beating Colorado and then Vancouver.
In the first round against the Avalanche and Patrick Roy, Andrew Brunette scored the series winner in overtime.
This was Patrick Roy’s last NHL game and is the most iconic Wild moment so far. Will there be Danny Heatley playoff heroics in the Wild's future?
The Montreal Canadiens are the most iconic franchise in the league’s history.
They have 24 Stanley Cup trophies, which is far and away the league’s best. In many ways the Canadiens are synonymous with hockey and the Cup.
In 1993 they won their last, also the last Canadian based team to win it, and since it is impossible to pick just one Cup celebration, 1993 will fit the bill
The Predators haven’t had a great ton of moments in the NHL yet, but this past season they finally broke out of the first round of the playoffs.
Facing the higher seeded Anaheim Ducks the Predators won in six games propelling them into the next round.
In the clinching Game 6 Nick Spaling scored two goals, the second giving Nashville a 3-2 lead which they would not relinquish.
The Devils were a much maligned franchise until the late 1990’s came around.
With a defensive style that frustrated their opponents they won a couple of Stanley Cups. Some Devils detractors might say they are most known for the mind numbing trap, but let's try and stay positive.
The face of the Devils has been Martin Brodeur, who in 2009 broke the league’s all-time record for wins. The best moment for the team’s best player will always stand out.
Believe it or not, the signing of Alexi Yashin will not go down as the Islanders most iconic moment.
For that you have to turn the clock back to the 1980’s where they owned the NHL.
They won four consecutive Stanley Cups, the last in 1983 as they beat the Edmonton Oilers. In this iconic moment, Billy Smith stops Wayne Gretzky as the clock winds down and the celebration is on.
Rangers fans had to wait a long time. It seemed like they would never win the Stanley Cup.
Their players and fans had to endure other buildings around the league chanting “1940” every time the Rangers came to play.
That all changed in 1994, led by Mark Messier, the Rangers finally won it. The elation on Messier’s face as he takes the cup is one of hockey’s most memorable moments.
With the way things have gone recently in the Big Apple one has to wonder when it is time to break out the "1994" chants?
In 2007 the Senators completed their greatest season in franchise season as they won the Eastern Conference and made their first Stanley Cup Finals.
Although they lost that, when Daniel Alfredsson scored in overtime to beat the Buffalo Sabres and launched the Senators into the finals will always go down in Ottawa history.
With the current state of the Senators it may be a while for the next great moment.
In the 1970’s no city embraced its hockey team more than Philadelphia did with their Flyers.
The rough and tumble Broad Street Bullies were not embraced many other places, but in 1974 they beat the big bad Boston Bruins to win their first Stanley Cup.
This great moment in Flyers history is not only iconic for what it represents, but what a great play-by-play call!
Where to start with the Coyotes?
The team has not won a playoff series since they were in Winnipeg and lately have been most known for the constant relocation rumors swirling around the team.
In 2010, they surprised the league, coming out of nowhere to make the playoffs and have home ice advantage in the first round. They faced the always tough Red Wings and in this moment, Shane Doan, the team’s most marquee player scores a big goal to tie up the game.
Ultimately the most iconic moment in Phoenix hockey history may be moving vans.
No offence to Sidney Crosby, but the greatest Penguin has always been Mario Lemieux.
In 1991 the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup Championship by sweeping the Minnesota North Stars.
Lemieux scored one of the most memorable and prettiest goals you will ever see. It will live for ever in Penguins and NHL history.
The Blues have been around the NHL for quite some time but unfortunately do not have the best history.
In 1986 however, they faced the Calgary Flames in the Campbell Conference finals. Finding themselves against the wall and down 5-2 early in the third period of Game 6, the Blues staged a remarkable comeback.
Not only did they score three times to send the game into overtime, but Doug Wickenheiser scored the game winner.
A great game that has been given the nickname “The Monday Night Miracle” is one of the most memorable moments in Blues history.
In 1994 the Sharks made the playoffs for the first time after a 52 point turn around in the standings.
As exciting as that was for Sharks fans the bad news came when they were matched up with the number one seeded Detroit Red Wings.
In one of the biggest upsets in sports history the Sharks pushed Detroit to a Game 7 where Jamie Baker scored the game winner and ousted the Red Wings.
Since then, it seems like these two teams find each other in the playoffs every year.
Tampa Bay having a hockey team seemed strange at first, and it was even stranger when they reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004 against the Flames.
Hockey was becoming legitimized in Tampa Bay.
They had some big time players and in Game 7 they beat the Flames and brought the Cup to Florida.
Coming in a close second is Martin St. Louis getting whacked with a stick in Game 1 of this year's playoffs only to lead Tampa Bay back to win in seven games.
The Maple Leafs are the most popular team in Canada. In many ways, they are like the Yankees in baseball…except for all the winning.
Go to any arena the Leafs are playing in and there will be a throng of Toronto faithful.
In some ways this following makes no sense since they have not been to the finals since 1967 when the beat the heavily favored Canadiens.
Here are the final moments of the last Maple Leafs championship.
The Canucks had many iconic moments during this past Stanley Cup Finals run. Every Canucks fan will remember Kevin Bieksa beating the Sharks in overtime or Roberto Luongo giving up weak goals in Boston as pretty iconic.
However, to find a truly defining moment you have to go back to the finals run in 1994 when the Canucks came back after being down three games to one against Calgary in the first round.
The comeback was impressive, even more so was the fact all three wins during the comeback came in overtime.
In Game 7, Pavel Bure scored the winner and started a celebration that is forever in Vancouver Canucks lore.
In case your forgot about it, the Washington Capitals have made the Stanley Cup Finals.
It’s true, in 1998 they faced off against the Detroit Red Wings and were swept in four games in one of the most forgettable finals in history.
There were surely great moments for Capitals fans that year, but the teams most iconic moment came after they drafted Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin has already become the biggest icon in Capitals history and this amazing goal from his back is maybe his most known moment so far.
Since the Atlanta Thrashers only iconic moment was moving and the new Jets biggest moment was the Commissioner announcing their return, let’s look back to the original Winnipeg Jets for a great moment.
The Jets didn’t have much on ice success the first go around, but before the NHL and WHA merged the Jets dominated the rival league.
In the last WHA game, in 1979, the Jets beat Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers to win the Avco Cup. It was also the last time they ever managed to get past Edmonton in the playoffs.