The 2011-2012 NHL season is just about a third of the way through, making it a perfect time to recap the top goals around the league. From spin-o-ramas to between-the-leg passes and beastly one-on-fours, this year has not disappointed in highlight goals.
Here are the best of the best.
Note: Goals were chosen from before November 30 and do not include penalty shots or shootout goals.
Pavel Datsyuk puts a beauty in here. Watch the footwork by Datsyuk, "the skill level is just insane on this."
Datsyuk started the season slowly but has come to as of late. He's scoring at almost a point per game rate on the season and with goals like this is showing why he's considered one of the best players these days.
You may have to watch this one a couple of times.
Travis Moen comes up with a shot that finds the back of the net while he skates backwards. To cap it off, Moen plows Leafs goalie James Reimer into the net with the puck—all while shorthanded.
This one is all about the pass. Paul Gaustad pulls off the timely spin-o-rama to set up Jason Pominville in front of the net. There was really nothing the Winnipeg players could have done to stop it once the puck was free.
The spin-o-rama is made even better when you consider who executed it: None other than 6'5", 220-pound Paul Gaustad.
"He just dances, dances through them all."
This goal is made even better by the fact that it culminated in Duchene's first career hat trick. He dominated this game and had the Stars fearing him every time he touched the puck.
There is definitely more to come from this superstar in the making.
Gaustad's spin-o-rama pass was nice, but this one is ridiculous. Kane pulls off the pass in heavy traffic with pinpoint accuracy.
The move is absolutely unexpected and freezes both the defense and Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller enough for a wide-open net.
Make sure to watch the replays on this one. Martin St. Louis is known for his finesse, skating and spin-o-ramas, but he shows incredible stick work and patience in this one.
Ryan Miller, one of the best goalies in the league, simply has no answer for St. Louis' dekes here. Granted, St. Louis was left alone with Miller, but this is still a great feat of skill.
For the second goal of the entire NHL season, Claude Giroux made it look pretty. That, coupled with the fact that it was Jaromir Jagr's first point in his triumphant return sets this goal as fifth on the list.
Giroux hasn't slowed down one bit since this goal. In just his fourth season in the NHL, he leads the Flyers with 29 points in just 23 games. This seems to be Giroux's year to emerge as one of the elite scorers in the NHL, and—with plays like this—he's fun to watch.
If you're like me, you first saw this goal and had no idea what Duchene had pulled off. In a goal that I've never seen the likes of, Duchene worked magic with the puck, putting it between his legs and into the back of the net before anyone knew what had happened.
"Dutchy" is leading the Avalanche in points this year and will rise to the elite level of play in the NHL soon. At only 20 years of age, he has tremendous promise and will produce many more goals of this caliber for the Avs in the years to come.
This is the second goal of this game to make the cut for this list. Here, Evgeni Malkin makes rookie Gabriel Landeskog look like, well, a rookie.
Malkin goes between the legs of Landeskog and then hits a beautiful deke that Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov had no answer for. Varlamov just sat on the ice thinking about what had just happened to him.
Nothing like the old flying shot to make the second place on this list—especially from a more defensively minded forward in Eric Nystrom.
Nystrom has had a great start to this season. In just 19 games, he has eight goals and two assists. His career high in goals for an entire season? Eleven.
Nystrom and the resurgent Stars are looking like a force to be reckoned with. Only a fellow Star could top him on this list for the best goal of the season thus far.
"What a demon."
Did he really just do that?
Okay, okay—it's the Columbus Blue Jackets. But, Jamie Benn just beat four guys and a goaltender, and seems just as shocked as everyone else that he pulled it off.
What a goal. It wasn't as much a feat of elite skill as much as grit, determination and some lucky bounces, but it's still an incredible performance by Benn. I'd love to see someone beat this goal for best of the season, but doing so will be tough.