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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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BmDyYSbdCg%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAzOhxofVts%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBA6zZiVisw%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gXSN5tV9NE%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncsGtMQ0t7M%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlZ_EuE0Ks4%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cVIiYk9eVk%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeRUKpk4Ps0%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm682A6tidw%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Buhd4wQW9eY%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YXnDT5C_Ag%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5kmYFo7ZTo%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMWrKQ_pNk4%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7m2_cRD1kQ%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTO_1Tfph6k%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uprjDdB0yes%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H7IucnIjxE%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjiwZwhpD70%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB2cqbJN8iI%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krPWOcXemAg%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9kzEeLbfQw%5D

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzSGnZnZu8M%5D

Previously:

————

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.

PHT Morning Skate: Bolts need Vasilevskiy; Isles should be buyers

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• The Flyers are rallying behind Oskar Lindblom after his Ewing’s sarcoma diagnosis. (NBC Sports Philadelphia)

• The Bolts need Andrei Vasilevskiy to play like he’s one of the best in the world again. (Tampa Times)

• Coaches have been getting fired for reasons both known and unknown. (Los Angeles Times)

• The Blackhawks keep finding ways to hit new lows this season. (NBC Sports Chicago)

• Jim Benning was looking to trade Sven Baertschi, but he was forced to put him on waivers. (Vancouver Sun)

• A London Knights physiotherapist helped save Tucker Tynan’s life. (CTV News)

Tom Wilson has become a new-age power forward. (Sportsnet)

• Four players from the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association will play in the ECHL All-Star classic. (The Ice Garden)

• If good teams don’t go on long losing streaks, what does that mean for the Edmonton Oilers? (Edmonton Journal)

• Referee Tim Peel is likely done for the season after suffering a broken leg. (RMNB)

• Islanders GM Lou Lamorielllo should dip into the rental market this season. (GothamSN)

• Alexis Lafreniere is hoping to become the next future first overall pick to turn in an incredible performance at the World Juniors. (Featurd)

• It’s still too early to say that Jack Eichel is among the greatest players. (Rotoworld)

• It’s time for the Anaheim Ducks to rebuild. (Spector’s Hockey)

• Former Lightning head coach Steve Ludzik needs a liver transplant. (Tampa Times)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

The Buzzer: Kane’s hat trick; Staal’s milestone night

Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with Jonathan Toews
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Three Stars

1) Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Kane surpassed Sidney Crosby for the scoring lead this decade with 16 days left in the 2010s. Since Jan. 1, 2010, Kane has 791 points (311G, 480A), while Crosby has 788 points (296G, 492A). No. 88 recorded his sixth NHL hat trick in Chicago’s 5-3 victory over Minnesota. The Blackhawks have a long way to go if they want to have a realistic shot at the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but a victory against a surging division rival is a good place to start.

2) Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets

On a football Sunday, the Jets scored a touchdown in their 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Scheifele played a huge part with his three-point performance featuring a goal and two assists as he extended his individual point streak to six games. Neal Pionk added three assists, including two power-play helpers. The top four teams in the Western Conference (Blues, Avalanche, Jets, Stars) currently reside in the Central Division and playoff positioning will be crucial as each team eyes a lengthy postseason run.

3) Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild

Staal became the 89th player in NHL history to have 1,000 career points when he tallied a power-play goal against Chicago Sunday. After a dreadful 4-9 start to the season, the Wild have climbed up the standings with a 12-4-5 record in their past 21 games. The alternate captain leads Minnesota with 26 points, including four goals in the previous three games.

Other notable performances from Sunday:

  • Anze Kopitar’s two-goal performance in the Kings’ 4-2 victory against the Red Wings helped him surpass the iconic Wayne Gretzky for fourth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Kopitar picked up his 918th and 919th point in his 1038th game.
  • Blake Wheeler finished with three points, including a goal and an assist during a four-goal barrage spanning 4:17.

Highlights of the Night

Staal etched his name in the NHL record books with this one-time blast

William Karlsson won an important foot race before Reilly Smith slid a cross-ice pass over to Jonathan Marchessault

Factoids

  • A total of 33 goals were scored across four contests Sunday for an average of 8.25 per game [NHL PR].
  • The Jets scored four goals in a span of five minutes or less for the fourth time in franchise history [NHL PR].
  • The Jets’ four goals in a span of 4:17 are their second-fastest scored in a game in franchise history, behind the mark of 3:50 set on Nov. 18, 2017 [NHL PR].
  • Canucks’ Bo Horvat has won an NHL-high 414 faceoffs this season [Sportsnet Stats].

NHL Scores

Winnipeg Jets 7, Philadelphia Flyers 3

Chicago Blackhawks 5, Minnesota Wild 3

Los Angeles Kings 4, Detroit Red Wings 2

Vegas Golden Knights 6, Vancouver Canucks 3

Sabres demote under-performing center Mittelstadt to minors

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres have assigned under-performing second-year center Casey Mittelstadt to the minors.

The demotion to Rochester of the AHL was made Sunday, coming a day following a 3-2 overtime loss at the New York Islanders in which Mittelstadt was a healthy scratch for the third time in four games.

The 21-year-old has four goals and five assists in 31 games this season, and limited to just a goal and an assist in his past 21. Buffalo selected the play-making center with the eighth pick in the 2017 draft following his senior year in high school.

He then signed with Buffalo and jumped directly to the NHL in making his Sabres debut immediately following his freshman college season at Minnesota.

Mittelstadt has failed to play up to early projections of developing into Buffalo’s second-line center. He has 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points in 114 career NHL games.

Players hope U.S.-Canada rivalry game helps spawn pro league

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HARTFORD, Conn. — The United States women’s hockey team beat Canada 4-1 on Saturday night, with players hoping the first in a series of five games between the international rivals will help kindle the public’s interest in both their sport and their fight off the ice for better professional opportunities.

Canada’s Victoria Bach and the Megan Keller of the U.S. traded power-play goals in the first period, before Amanda Kessel put the U.S. on top for good with a player advantage in the second. Abbe Roque’s backhand in the period gave the US a 3-1 lead and Alex Carpenter beat Genevieve Lacasse for the final goal 1:15 seconds later.

More than 7,000 fans showed up for the international competition, which comes after more than 200 members of what has since become the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association announced in May they would not play professionally in North America during the 2019-2020 season.

“I think it’s important for people to watch us play and see the level of talent and entertainment that’s out there,” Kessel said. “It’s getting that understanding that we need to help get us a place to play year-round so that people can see us more than five times a year.”

The women are seeking a professional league that provides a living wage, health insurance, infrastructure and support for training. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League shut down in the spring after 12 years of operation, leaving only the five-team National Women’s Hockey League, where most players make less than $10,000 a season.

“The product is there,” Kessel said. “The people to watch it are there. We just need a structure set in place.”

Sarah Nurse, a forward for Team Canada, whose cousin Kia Nurse plays for New York in the WNBA, said players are hoping to get support from the NHL, which has, so far, expressed little interest in investing in a women’s league.

“We can look at (the WNBA) and see that women’s sports have value and they have a place in this world,” said Nurse, who made $2,000 last season playing in the CWHL. “That is definitely a model that we look to.”

The rivalry series was created after the Four Nations Cup in Sweden was canceled when top Swedish players pulled out of national team events due to concerns over their salary and working conditions.

Without a viable pro league, players who are out of college have been training on their own at random rinks across North America in between gatherings of the national teams or training sessions and exhibitions sponsored by the players association.

Canada won two of those over the US in Pittsburgh last month.

But the lack of consistent competition can stunt the players’ development, especially when it comes to be being prepared for world and Olympic competitions, the players said.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Nurse said. “Games are when we truly get better and test out our skills, so it’s unfortunate that we don’t have more games to play.”

Cayla Barnes, who plays defense for the U.S. team and Boston College, said she and the other college players on the national teams understand what is going on and appreciate what the older players are doing.

“They are putting so much on the line for the younger generations,” she said. “Not just for us college kids who are coming up, but for U-8, U-10 girls who are coming up so they have opportunities later on. So I think all of us who are younger are trying to support them in whatever way we can.”

Hundreds of girls wearing their youth hockey jerseys attended the game, chanting “U-S-A” as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

“I want to be like them, like in the Olympics when I get older,” said 14-year-old Leila Espirito Santo, of Glastonbury “I started playing when I was in fourth grade and I wasn’t the best, but watching them play made me want to be better. It showed me I could do it.”

The teams will meet again on Tuesday in Moncton, New Brunswick. Other games part of the 2019-20 Rivalry Series are slated for Feb. 3 and Feb. 5 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Feb. 8 in Anaheim, California.