NHL 2011-2012: 10 Best Goals of the First Week of the Season (with Video)
We're into Week Two of the 2010-2011 NHL season, and a plethora of astonishing plays have already circulated the airwaves of the hockey world. None of those highlights, however, have been more eye-opening than some of the goals scored in the 75 games played so far.
While most NHL fans are busy looking at some of the more miraculous success (the Toronto Maple Leafs at 3-0, the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche at 4-1) and disappointment (the New York Rangers at 0-1-2, the Minnesota Wild at 0-4-1) stories in the early going, Youtubers have occupied themselves by uploading a sizable number of these top-notch tallies to the web—and we've spent our time scouring through them for the best goals of them all.
No matter how crucial—see No.'s 5 and 6—or trivial—take No. 3 or 9—these 10 goals have gotten crowds on their feet, coaches clapping their hands and radio commentators out of their vocal range. There are powerplay goals, 5-on-3 goals, shorthanded goals, shootout goals, breakaway goals, give-and-go goals, one-timer goals and just about every other possible way to score included.
And you can't afford to miss a single one of them.
10. Zach Parise (Oct. 13th)
New Jersey Devils cornerstone forward Zach Parise, after playing just 13 games in '10-'11, is back with a vengence this fall.
In his first four appearances, Parise has made a big difference and let the Devils know exactly what they were missing last season, as he's scored two goals, one assist and this shootout beauty already.
It wasn't the most elaborate attempt, but the 27-year-old skilled puckhandler got the backhand off before Jonathan Quick even knew he was shooting...and that's no easy task, considering Quick was an undefeated 10-0 in shootouts last season. The top-corner strike gave New Jersey a 2-0 lead in the 'SO' and allowed them to seal an eventual 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
The Devils have won three consecutive games and are 3-1-0 on the season at this point.
9. Vernon Fiddler (Oct. 8th)
To make a goal like that from such an unbelievable angle is an amazing goal in its own right. Considering that he had just received a pass moments earlier makes it even tougher. Taking in to account that he was playing on the road in Chicago's home opener adds another dimension of difficulty.
And the fact that it was Vernon Fiddler's first ever goal with the Dallas Stars has to drop everyone's jaws.
The game was a 3-0 rout in favor of the Blackhawks before Fiddler struck, and the goal mattered little; the Stars still lost 5-2. Nevertheless, it's a strike that will start to make Fiddler, a 31-year-old longtime depth forward, more of a respected player in his new Texas home. Plus, it's his only point of the year so far, so we figure he might still be replaying this memory even today.
Fortunately for him, though, this loss was his club's only, as Dallas stands at 4-1 right now.
8. Brandon Sutter (Oct. 14th)
Despite falling in their first three games, the Carolina Hurricanes have since notched victories over elite foes Boston and Buffalo. In Friday's 4-3 topping of the Sabres, the team recorded two shorthanded goals for the first time since March 2009, and one of them—the Brandon Sutter breakaway you can watch at left—left more than just Hurricanes fans on their feet.
Blasting by Sabres' newcomer Christian Ehrhoff with a burst of speed that Buffalo obviously hadn't seen before, Sutter deked once and then buried the puck over Ryan Miller's pad with merely a dozen seconds remaining in the period.
Sutter, widely regarded as the Hurricanes' best defensive forward, is a regular on the penalty kill, but has still scored 35 goals over the past two seasons. He exemplified the blending of those two facets perfectly in this one-man-show play.
The 22-year-old center has one assist and a plus-one rating to go along with this goal in his first five games.
7. Alexander Semin (Oct. 8th)
You'll be seeing a lot of goals against the Carolina Hurricanes fairly soon. To get us started, how about the Washington Capitals' first goal of the season?
Capitalizing (pun definitely intended) on a disoriented coverage scheme from the Hurricane 'D', Alexander Semin took it away on a long-gone breakaway. In goal, Brian Boucher did a good job of trying, but giving Semin an opportunity like this is a recipe for disaster almost every time.
On this occasion, at least, it certainly was.
Semin looked to try to pick the puck up on his stick, but then decided he needn't make it so complicated; a simple pull to the left followed by his patented bullet point backhand lit the lamp and tied the game at one goal apiece.
Washington's best winger has added two helpers to this strike to stand at three points in four games, while his team has yet to lose.
6. Mike Ribeiro (Oct. 10th)
"'A' move? Yeah. Scores!"
It doesn't need any more commentary than that.
Mike Ribeiro's game-winning shootout attempt seemed poised for memorable status from the start, and he failed to disappoint the hometown crowd, turning nearly sideways before flicking the puck into the top shelf over Phoenix Coyotes netminder Mike Smith.
But Ribeiro didn't celebrate much; instead, he just skated back to the bench. Apparently, these goals are a day-to-day routine for him.
Anyhow, the goal lifted the Stars to a 2-1 victory in the game.
5. Vincent Lecavalier (Oct. 7th)
The stage was set for one of the better season openers of the year. Carolina was starting off their season on home ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had knocked them out of making the playoffs the year before. And, with just a couple minutes to go in the second period, the score stood level at one goal apiece.
Until Vincent Lecavalier came up to bat.
No, this isn't baseball, but it sure looked that way; the 31-year-old whipped his stick around and blasted it out of the park...or, rather, into the back of the net. The homer turned out to knock all of the wind out of Carolina's sails, as they imploded in the third period and were dealt a 5-1 crushing.
Lecavalier has only two points, including this goal, in five games, while the Bolts have lost four in a row.
4. Henrik Zetterberg (Oct. 8th)
There are lots of places where this one-time shot could go.
Into the textbook. Next to the dictionary definition. Perhaps on one of those NHL GameCenter Live commercials that never end, as well.
On the other hand, it's true destination is blatantly clear; there's no way that mediocre ol' Semyon Varlamov can stop this rocket from hitting the twine.
Set up by a beautiful, half-no look feed from Pavel Datsyuk, one of the game's best one-time scorers, Henrik Zetterberg, makes no mistake.
Amazingly, though, this is Zetterberg's only placement on the box score this season, as he has just this one point in four games. Detroit hasn't suffered from that, however, since they currently stand undefeated at 4-0-0.
3. Mikkel Boedker (Oct. 13th)
Raise your hands, casual fans: how many of you have actually heard of Mikkel Boedker before? If you follow the draft very closely, you may have—he was the eighth overall pick in the stacked 2008 class—but, otherwise, this slow-to-develop 21-year-old has done nothing noteworthy since then (17 goals and 47 points in 130 games over the past three seasons).
Well, until now, perhaps. Although the tally was trifling at best, Boedker's skate-to-stick deke was nothing but extraordinary. It's hard enough to kick a puck accurately to begin with, but Boedker actually manages to baffle goalie Pekka Rinne and place the puck right in front of a gaping goal...which he then proceeded to leap towards and whack across the red line while being manifestly tackled by Ryan Suter.
Not to mention he received the puck by way of a behind-the-back spin-o-rama pass from Martin Hanzal.
Phoenix won the game 5-2, and sit at 2-1-1 on the year at this point. Boedker has two points and two PIM in four appearances.
2. Tyler Seguin (Oct. 12th)
Needing a spark to get his team back in the game, Tyler Seguin took the lead pass, blew by a lost-looking Hurricane defense, and rifled a ridiculously fast yet pinpoint slap shot into the top corner from an angle just above zero. The goal lifted the Boston Bruins back within one, something they did quite often on this particular night, but they were unable to pull out the victory in the end.
Watching the reactions of some of Seguin's teammates and opponents after the shot goes in, though, is quite amusing.
Cam Ward doesn't seem to mind at all, because he knows you'd need a superhuman (or maybe Tim Thomas) to stop that bullet. Joni Pitkanen, the Carolina defenseman closest to the goal, seems dazed and skates over to the boards for a rest. Fellow linemate Milan Lucic is so stunned, he way overshoots his speed going into the Bruins' celebration huddle and smashes into both Seguin and Nathan Horton. And announcer Mike Emrick, a favorite of any NHL follower, starts having voice cracks again (at age 56)!
Seguin, the much-hyped second pick in the first round of the 2010 draft, is off to a very hot start to the season. Despite the Bruins relative struggles (a 2-3-0 record to date), Seguin has this goal and four assists (and a plus-three rating) to set himself on a steady point-per-game pace.
1. Tomas Plekanec (Oct. 9th)
Ah, there's no better way to notch the best goal of the season so far than to blow by a bewildered defenseman and put the Winnipeg Jets, playing their first game under that name since 1996, in an early 2-0 hole.
Tomas Plekanec would surely agree with that statement. After Johnny Oduya breaks up his first attempt to break free, Plekanec takes matters into his own hands, stripping the 30-year-old afro-touting blueliner of the puck with a through-the-legs poke, and then goes along on his merry way.
Meanwhile, seconds later, Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec falls easily for the fake and goes for the poke check, allowing the Montreal speedster to pull the puck back to the left and flick it calmly into the corner. The goal turned on the rout in Manitoba, as the Canadiens spoiled the Jets' home opener by way of a decisive 5-1 margin.
Still, Plekanec wasn't settled with this splendid goal on its own. He also racked up two more assists later on to total three points and a plus-three rating on the night. Unfortunately, the victory is Montreal's only one so far, as they sit with a substandard 1-2-1 mark.