The NHL released a wide variety of all-decade awards in the last week. In the spirit of that, here are the ten most historic goals of the 2010s. The following goals finished off playoff series, rivals, and curses bringing team’s to new heights and glory.
2010: Patrick Kane ends Hawks Stanley Cup Curse.
It had been since 1961 that the Chicago Blackhawks had won Lord Stanley’s Hardware, and since 1992 that they even had the opportunity to play for it. But a young star-studded core of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith alongside a crafty group of veterans brought them to the brink of reaching the pinnacle. The Flyers had already seen playoff magic that spring becoming the third team to erase a 3-0 series deficit and comeback to win when they took out Boston two rounds prior. A Philadelphia goal in the extra frame would send the series back to Chicago for game seven. But Patrick Kane had no plans to do so cementing his legacy as a Windy City sports icon scoring one of the strangest Cup-winning goals you’ll ever see. He was the only one who knew the puck went in.
2011: Burrows, Canucks slay the dragon
In three of the previous four seasons prior to 2011, Vancouver won the Pacific Division but failed to get out of the second round, falling to Chicago in the previous conference semi-finals. In 2011, the Canucks stormed out to a 3-0 series lead and seemed poised to get passed the Hawks with relative ease. Until everything changed. The defending Cup champs won the next three, forcing a game seven where it appeared history would repeat itself. Vancouever held a 1-0 lead throughout the entire game until Jonathan Toews pulled the teams even at the 18:04 mark of the third. Fast forward to overtime, third pairing defensman Chris Campoli tried clearing the puck out of the zone only to see Alex Burrows snag it out of mid air, skate to his left and fire a quick slapper past Hawks goalie Corey Crawford for the series win. The Canucks would go onto win the West falling to Boston in the Stanley Cup Final.
2012: Stoll snipes 8th seeded Kings past President Trophy Canucks
The Kings caught most people by surprise winning the first two games of their opening round playoff series against the Canucks in Vancouver – it shouldn’t have. After the teams split in LA, the two battled to overtime in game five before Trevor Lewis forced a turnover creating a two-on-one and Jarrett Stoll fired a snipe passed Cory Schneider to win the series. It was the sixth time in league history the President’s Trophy winners bowed out in the first round. It was also fitting that the Kings ended it on the road as they became the first team in the NHL to make the Finals without losing a game away from home. They became the first eighth seed to ever win the Stanley Cup.
2013: Bergeron caps the comeback.
With less than 15 minutes to go during the third period of game seven of the first round, Leafs forward Nazeem Kadri berried a juicy rebound off of a Phil Kessel wrister into the back of the Bruins’ net putting Toronto up 4-1. They were running the Bruins off of their home ice in a series clinching game. Five minutes later, Nathan Horton cut the lead to two. Still, the Leafs and their fans felt comfortable. Milan Lucic scored with 1:30 to go in the frame pulling the Bruins within one. Less than 30 second later, the unthinkable. From just inside the blue line, Patrice Bergeron let go a seeing-eye shot beating James Reimer beneath his pad. Toronto’s lead? Gone. Six minutes into overtime, Toronto’s season was gone, with Bergeron once again playing the roll of hero. The B’s would go onto the Stanley Cup Final in a season marred by the bombing at the Boston Marathon less than two months prior.
2013: Seabrook wins it in OT
The Wings and Blackhawks are maybe hockey’s biggest rivalry omitting Boston-Montreal or maybe Philly-Pittsburgh. It was never better than in 2013 when the two met in the conference semi-finals. This series serves as a changing-of-the-guard if you will as Detroit was heading to the Eastern Conference the following season. The Wings dominated the rivalry in the 2000s on the strength of two Cups and another trip to the Finals but the Hawks were catching up in the 2010s, making it farther than their rivals in each of the previous three postseasons. The Wings, riding their 22 consecutive trips to the playoffs, jumped out to a 3-1 series lead but the Hawks came back to force a home game seven. Deep into the third with the score tied at one, Niklas Hjalmarsson appeared to win the game thanks to a slapper past Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. But, the referee waved it off instead calling two coincidental minors which would have likely been the most controversial call of all-time had Detroit found a way to win. Thankfully for the officiating crew, another Chicago defensman, Brett Seabrook won it less than four minutes into overtime and the Blackhawks won it their second cup of the decade two rounds later. Detroit has not made it that far since.
2014: Alec Martinez’ Stanley Cup winner
I don’t think there’s any player in NHL history who has scored two bigger goals than Alec Martinez. Los Angeles found themselves back in the Cup finals for the second time in three years thanks to Martinez’ game seven heroics against Chicago in the previous round. In yet another OT period, the third of the series against the Eastern Conference champion Rangers, Martinez and teammates Kyle Clifford and Tyler Toffoli found themselves on a 3 on 2, this time in double overtime. Toffoli let a shot go and the puck went right to the stick of Martinez who made no mistake, giving LA their second championship. It was also the second time the Kings won on home ice, this time winning as a six seed after becoming the first eight seed to accomplish the feat two years prior.
2016: Nick Bonino downs the Caps again
It had been seven years since the Caps and Pens met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and just like their first meeting, this one went Pittsburgh’s way. Rookie goalie Matt Murray found himself in net thanks to injuries, and he wasted no time cementing his legacy in Penguins lore. He was outstanding against Washington, one of the main reasons the team was on the brink of advancing at home. But, late in the third with the Caps on a 5 on 3, John Carlson sniped one to even the score. In the overtime session, the HBK line of Carl Hagelin, Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino proved too much as Bonino berried a puck after a net-mouth scramble to send Pittsburgh to the Eastern Conference Finals. That line was one of the main reasons the team was able to win the franchise’s third Stanley Cup and second for Sidney Crosby.
2017: Kunitz’ blast sends Pittsburgh to the Finals
The 2017 Eastern Conference Finals were a bit weird. The Pens were overwhelming favorites against Ottawa, but it was the Cinderella Senators taking game one and destroying Pittsburgh in game three before Matt Murray was inserted into the lineup replacing Marc-Andre Fluery. The Pens won the next two appearing to reroute the ship. But then Ottawa held onto a 2-1 game six in the Nation’s Capital forcing a game seven. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie heading into a second overtime frame. Once again, Sindey Crosby worked his magic, finding Chris Kunitz on a slick backhand pass leading to a Kunitz one-timer right over Craig Anderson’s shoulder. The Pens went onto defend their title, winning the Cup in six games over Nashville.
2018: Kuznetzov exercises the demons
It was the third straight playoffs the Capitals and Penguins met in the second round. The situation the teams found themselves in in 2018 was nearly identical to the one they were in during 2016. Game Six, overtime, in Pittsburgh. Only this time, it was the Capitals up 3-2 with a goal pushing them to the next round. 2016, it was Nick Bonino. 2018 it was Evgeni Kuznetzov. Kuznetzov took a feed and split the Pittsburgh defense racing by Kris Letang. Kuzi flipped the puck through the wickets of Matt Murray for the series clincher. It was the first time in Ovi’s career he made it to the third round and his Capitals team would go onto capture the team’s first Stanley Cup a month later.
2019: Barclay Goodrow wins it for San Jose
At most points of the San Jose-Vegas opening round series from a season ago, the percentages indicated Vegas was the overwhelming favorite to advance. The Knights had a three games to one lead after game four. The Sharks won game five but needed double overtime to force a game seven. In that game seven, Vegas led 3-0 in the third before an S&P Arena crowd, that like TD Garden six years prior, was understandably quiet. Then it everything changed. Cody Eakin took a cross-checking major injuring Sharks captain Joe Pavelski in the process. San Jose responded with four straight power play goals to take the lead. With less than a minute to go and the goalie pulled, Jonathan Marchessault scored what will go down as one of the biggest but most forgotten goals in NHL history pulling his club even at four. With the overtime period winding down, depth-forward Barclay Goodrow capped the remarkable comeback racing past a defensman and beating Marc-Andre Fluery on a partial breakaway.
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