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The best hockey goals of 2017 (PHT Year in Review)

(Pro Hockey Talk is taking a look back at the year in hockey. We’ll be presenting you with the best goals, saves, moments, players and much more as we bring you the best of 2017.)

One of the great things about Twitter is just how fast a goal can be scored and the highlight be blasted across the interwebs for all to see, no matter what part of the globe the game took place. This list of the best goals of 2017 isn’t limited to NHL highlights. We’ve scoured the Internet for the best moves and efforts that resulted in goals and broken them down in different categories.

You’ll see great individual efforts, creative attempts and even a slew of goalie goals.

We hope you enjoy.

THE SOLO EFFORTS

Andreas Athanasiou vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Jan. 14

AA has wheels. AA has hands. He combined those two skills to embarrass the Penguins.

Laura Horwood vs. Union, Jan. 21

If you’re going to stop Horwood from taking a scoring chance, you apparently need to do a little more than hand out a few chops and trip her up.

Auston Matthews vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Feb. 19

The 2017 Calder Trophy winner routinely made goaltenders look silly, as Cam Ward discovered. This effort, a twisty backhander that went five-hole was all sorts of ridiculous.

Sidney Crosby vs. Buffalo Sabres, March 21

The 2016-17 Sabres were bad, bad, bad, so it’s no surprised that to defend Crosby, they parted the seas and allowed the Penguins captain to one-hand a shot by Robin Lehner.

Alex Radulov vs. New York Rangers, April 16

Radulov was electric in his NHL return with the Montreal Canadiens last season. That was on full display during the first-round of the playoffs when he undressed Henrik Lundqvist with this one-handed beauty.

Mike Hoffman vs. Bruins, April 17

This is a complete package of a goal. Not only do we get a marvelous Hail Mary pass from Erik Karlsson that lands on Hoffman’s tape, we then get a Nilsson/Forsberg move to top it all off.

David Farrance vs. Finland, Aug. 4

Coast-to-coast goals are a thing for Farrance. He showed that once again with the U.S. National Team Development Program during August’s World Junior Summer Showcase.

David Pastrnak vs. Vancouver Canucks, Oct. 19

The Canucks were just like us on this goal, admiring a wonderful end-to-end rush by the Bruins star.

Jack Hughes vs. Green Bay Gamblers, Oct. 23

We’ll be hearing a lot about Hughes in the next few years as he prepares for the 2019 NHL Draft with the USNTDP. Here he is giving us a taste of what’s to come.

Adam Henrique vs. New Jersey Devils, Dec. 18

“It’s good to be back in New Jersey. Now here’s a highlight-reel goal.” – Henrique, probably.

It’s not just the big kids who can score pretty goals:

THE DIPSEY-DO’ERS

Pontus Aberg vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, May 31

Poor Olli Maatta, getting posterized on a national stage like the Stanley Cup Final.

Viktor Arvidsson vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Nov. 27

The Nashville Predators forward pulled this same move off against the St. Louis Blues a year ago. That scouting report appeared to get lost.

Dmitry Orlov vs. Dallas Stars, Dec. 19

Orlov is still playing for the Capitals, which means no one reported him to the authorities after he pulled this move on John Klingberg.

THE BASEBALL BATTERS

Jared Spurgeon vs. New Jersey Devils, Jan. 17

It’s not so much the Minnesota Wild defenseman batting away here, it’s the wherewithal to catch and release in such a small amount of time that puts this one on another level.

Patric Hornqvist vs. Florida Panthers, March 19

This might be the closest thing we get to an alley-oop in hockey. Great timing and connection here between Hornqvist and Phil Kessel.

THE CHEEKY BETWEEN-THE-LEGS SCORERS

Chad Kolarik vs. Dusseldorf, Sept. 17

These types of goals are never not be enjoyable every single time you watch. Just the sheer confidence alone to decide to pull this move off during a game — a close one in this instance — is enough to warrant praise.

Robert Farmer vs. Sheffield Steelers, Oct. 14

Silky. Smooth. Call it whatever you want. Farmer pulls this is off in a very calm manner like he’d done it before.

Josh Bailey vs. San Jose Sharks, Oct. 21

Bailey does it all here. He intercepts the pass, makes Joe Pavelski look silly and then gets tricky inside Aaron Dell‘s crease.

Boris Sadecky vs. Lokomotiv, Oct. 25

Sadecky was feeling it this night in October. He not only embarrasses a defenseman on his way to the net, he then was feeling supremely confident that he felt that going backhand or forehand wasn’t the way to go.

Kenny Agostino vs. Utica Comets, Dec. 10

In what turned out to be the 2,000th win in franchise history, Agostino needed only 26 seconds of overtime to deliver this absolute beauty.

THE BILL ARMSTRONG/MIKE LEGG TRIBUTES

Kalle Kossila vs San Jose Barracuda, Jan. 20

You have to admire the patience of the San Diego Gulls forward here. It’s clear he badly wants to attempt the lacrosse-style shot and he’s just waiting out the defenseman to give him the space needed to do it. Success.

Matthew Strome vs. Ottawa 67’s, Nov. 25

Just like The Spanish Inquisition, no goalie ever expects the scoop shot.

THE GOALIE GOALS

Étienne Montpetit vs. Quebec Remparts, Jan. 7

Montpetit put a different spin on things by taking advantage of the Remparts emptying their net trying for a goal while on a power play. A shorthanded goalie goal.

Mike Smith, All-Star Skills Competition, Jan. 28

If Smith had accomplished this feat during an intermission, he probably would have won himself a brand new car or some cash.

Dylan Wells vs. Kingston Frontenacs, April 13

Really one of the best parts of a goalie goal is when they take part in the bench fly-by. It’s always well-deserved.

Mikhail Berdin vs. Muskegon Lumberjcks, Nov. 20

Not only did Sioux Falls Stampede fans get to enjoy a win during Teddy Bear Toss Night, they also got to see Berdin strut his stuff in celebration after he scored the first goal of his career.

Previously:

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

The Buzzer: Pastrnak nets four; Blackhawks hand Oilers first loss

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Three Stars

1. David Pastrnak, Bruins: Pasta scored four goals and recorded his fifth career hat trick as Boston doubled up the Ducks 4-2. His linemate, Patrice Bergeron, was the last Bruins player to tally four in a game when he achieved the feat on Jan. 6, 2018 against the Hurricanes. According to the NHL, Pastrnak is now the third player in Bruins franchise history, along with Barry Pederson and Cam Neely, to net five regular-season hat tricks before turning 24.

2. Victor Olofsson, Sabres: While Carter Hutton denied the Stars all afternoon during a 25-save shutout in a 4-0 win, it was the rookie winger making history. The 24-year-old Olofsson recorded his fifth power play goal of the season and set an NHL record by becoming the first player to score his first seven career goals with the extra man. Via the AP, the Sabres’ 5-0-1 start has earned them a point in their first six games for the first time since a 6-0-2 start in 2008-09. Their 4-0-0 record at KeyBank Center is their best start at home since 2006-07.

3. Alex Stalock, Wild: Stalock’s 26 saves helped the Wild to their first win of the season with a 2-0 blanking of the Senators. The shutout was Stalock’s sixth of his career and first since Dec. 14, 2017. Minnesota’s shorthanded units get a shoutout here after killing off five Ottawa power plays. (The Senators’ power play, by the way, is now 0-for-17 on the season.)

Other notable performances
• Behind two goals from Brett Connolly, the Panthers erased a 4-1 deficit to top the Devils 6-4. New Jersey is now 0-4-2, their worst start to a season since they started the 2013-14 campaign 0-4-3.

Matt Barzal‘s goal with 27 seconds left forced overtime and Devon Toews completed the Islanders’ comeback with the winner as the Blues surrendered a 2-0 lead with less than six minutes to play.

Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and two assists as the Avalanche downed the Capitals 6-3 to improve to 5-0-0.

James Neal scored his NHL-best eighth goal of the season in a loss to the Blackhawks that ended Edmonton’s undefeated season after five games.

Highlights of the Night

Jonathan Huberdeau needed only 16 seconds to open the scoring vs. the Devils:

• Agile Brad Marchand:

• Former Capitals Andre Burakovsky made his first visit back to D.C. as a member of the Avalanche:

• Nice sequence here by the Avs, which was finished off by Nikita Zadorov:

Factoids of the Night
• The Stars’ 1-5-1 start is the team’s worst since the franchise opened with an identical record in 1990-91 when they were the Minnesota North Stars.

• The line of Pastrnak, Bergeron, and Marchand have combined for 24 points through five games.

• Via AP, the worst start in Devils franchise history was 0-8-1 in 1974-75 when they were the Kansas City Scouts.

Scores
Bruins 4, Ducks 2
Wild 2, Senators 0
Panthers 6, Devils 4
Islanders 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Sabres 4, Stars 0
Avalanche 6, Capitals 3
Blackhawks 3, Oilers 1

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Sabres’ Olofsson sets NHL record with another power play goal

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The Buffalo Sabres continued their early season surge on Monday with a convincing and thorough 4-0 dismantling of the highly disappointing Dallas Stars.

During the Sabres rookie forward Victor Olofsson (also known as Victor Goal-ofsson) scored yet another goal to open the scoring early in the second period.

It was Olofsson’s fifth goal of the season and the seventh of his young career dating back to his debut during the 2018-19 season. Why is this goal noteworthy? Because all seven of Olofsson’s goals in the NHL have been scored on the power play. That makes him the first player in NHL history to open their career with seven consecutive power play goals (since power play goals became an official stat during the 1933-34 seaosn).

The Sabres’ power play has been dominant through the first six games of the season and is one of the biggest reasons they are off to such a strong start at 5-0-1. Obviously they can not rely on their power play unit to keep scoring at a 42 percent rate (as they are through Monday’s game), but it is not like that is the only source of offense. They also have 14 goals during 5-on-5 play through the first six games. No matter the situation, they are finding ways to score goals.

This start is no doubt creating a lot of excitement in Buffalo, but there is probably an equal amount of skepticism after the way the 2018-19 season unfolded. Even so, the Sabres and their fans have to be thrilled with the current record and place in the standings. Now they just need to do something they have not done in almost a decade and find a way to keep building on it.

MORE:
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Pastrnak scores 4 goals for Bruins; Marchand ducks retaliation

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The thing that makes the Boston Bruins so scary for the rest of the Eastern Conference is that even when they are not at their best they are still capable of making teams look powerless against them because of their goaltending and the strength of their top players.

That was on display on Monday afternoon when they defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2, to improve to 5-1-0 on the season.

This was not the Bruins’ most complete game of the season, but it was good enough.

David Pastrnak is a goal scoring machine 

The Bruins’ big three at forward are as good as you will find anywhere in the NHL.

Everyone already knows about Patrice Bergeron and his two-way play that allows him to control the game in every situation.

Brad Marchand may not be Bergeron’s equal defensively, but he has blown by him offensively and has been a top-10 scoring forward for about four years now.

Then there is David Pastrnak, who might actually be the best pure goal-scorer out of the three and the one that gets talked about the least. That may soon start to change. He was my sleeper pick for the Rocket Richard award at the start of the year, and he dominated on Monday afternoon with his first career four-goal game, proving all of the offense for the Bruins in their win. It was just the second four-goal game by a Bruins forward over the past 20 years (Bergeron did it during the 2017-18 season, before that you have to go back to Dave Andreychuck in 1999).

He has three consecutive 34-goal seasons, including 38 a year ago in only 66 games. After his performance on Monday the only players with more goals than him since the start of the 2016-17 season are Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, and Auston Matthews.

This is already the third four-goal game in the NHL this season, joining Edmonton Oilers forward James Neal and Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha.

There were only four four-goal games in the NHL during the entire 2018-19 season.

Marchand’s troll game is already in midseason form

This is Brad Marchand at his agitating best.

He manages to get an extra shot in at Anaheim’s Max Comtois along the boards, and when Comtois tries to respond and get a shot in of his own Marchand still finds a way to get the best of him.

Marchand does a lot of things that are dangerous and make people justifiably mad, but this right here is kind of funny.

Goaltending masks a lot of flaws

Sometimes even the best teams will need to rely on their goalie to get them two points, and fortunately for the Bruins they have two goalies in Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak that are capable of doing that on any given day.

The duo entered Monday with matching .957 save percentages on the season as they continue to split the early season workload. On Monday it was Halak doing the work in net turning aside 30 of the 32 shots he faced.

This is a great setup for the Bruins because it gives them a No. 1 option in goal every single night, and by splitting the playing time it it allows Rask — still their best and most important goalie — to not get worn down over the course of a long season and be fresh when they need him most (during the Stanley Cup Playoffs).

MORE:
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Devils crumble again, blow another 3-goal lead to remain winless

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When Pavel Zacha scored his first goal of the season just one minute into the second period it gave the New Jersey Devils a three-goal lead over the Florida Panthers and seemed to send them on a path that might finally give them their first win of the season.

They not only failed to win their first game of the season, they ended up allowing five consecutive goals on their way to a 6-4 loss, dropping their record to 0-4-2 and sending them off the ice to a chorus of boos from their home fans.

Free agent acquisition Brett Connolly scored two goals for the Panthers to start the rally (including one with eight seconds to play in the second period), while MacKenzie Weegar, Noel Acciari, and Evgeni Dadonov added third period goals to complete the rally and give the Panthers a much-needed win.

Three quick takeaways on the latest Devils’ meltdown to open the season.

1. This is the second time they have lost a three-goal lead

This is almost hard to believe, but Monday’s loss was already the second time this season the Devils have lost a game in which they have at one point held a three-goal lead. They have only played six games! Doing that twice in a full season is bad enough, but to have it happen within the first six games is just an awful look for everyone involved.

Along with Monday’s meltdown, the Devils also lost a 4-0 lead in their season-opening shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

2. Jack Hughes can’t buy a break … or a point

For one split second on Monday it looked as if the No. 1 overall pick in the draft was going to finally collect his first point. He had the puck on his stick, Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was down and out, only for Hughes to ring his shot off the post and stay out of the net. He slammed his stick in frustration and remained pointless through the first six games of his career.

This is the longest a No. 1 overall pick has gone without recording their first point since Steven Stamkos went seven games for the Tampa Bay Lightning at the start of the 2008-09 season.

The good news for Hughes is that Stamkos went on to have a solid rookie season with a strong second half and starting the next year was one of the league’s best players. So it is obviously not time to worry about him or his development. The bad news for Hughes is he doesn’t have the same excuse Stamkos had for his slow start — a coach that didn’t want to play him right away.

3. Is it make-or-break time for John Hynes?

Not to put too much on one game, but the next time the Devils take the ice will be  at home against the New York Rangers, their biggest rival and the other big spending NHL team this summer.

These two teams and their rebuilds were always going to be measured against one other given their rivalry and the parallels that existed with their offseasons (the top two picks in the draft, big-name acquisitions all over each roster), and if the Devils lose that game to fall to 0-5-2 — well, Hynes’ already hot seat will no doubt increase a few degrees.

This is all part of a six-game home stand and if the Devils can not find a way to scratch out a couple of wins it is not a stretch to think that some major changes could be on the horizon for what has been one of the league’s most disappointing and underwhelming teams.

They are not just losing, they are getting crushed in every possible area.

MORE:
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.