• “When Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson body-slammed Pettersson in October and knocked him out of the lineup for six games with a concussion, the Canucks were livid, as they should have been. But it’s pretty clear the Canucks have come to the realization that their star player is going to have to get used to being abused. And Pettersson is probably coming to that realization, too.” [The Hockey News]
• Looking at the second half schedule, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be challenged every night. [Raw Charge]
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 more as we remember 2018.
Hockey is a game of skill. Some have it, some don’t. In 2018, there were a number instances where hockey players all over the world showed off incredible moves before putting the puck in the back of the net.
Keep in mind that these are in no particular order. Just sit back, keep scrolling and enjoy the show!
Let’s start in Nashville, where the Predators were bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs a little earlier than they had hoped, but not before Filip Forsberg was able to score one of the best goals you’ll see on this list. Avs defenseman Samuel Girard is a really good player, but Forsberg went around him like he wasn’t even there on this fabulous play:
Sometimes, when you see a goal, you’re left wondering how on earth an NHLer could pull off such a spectacular move on another NHLer. Well, earlier this season, that’s exactly what Penguins captain Sidney Crosby did to Ryan Strome. Crosby’s elite, but this just isn’t fair:
William Karlsson and the Vegas Golden Knights used the 2017-18 season to put themselves on the hockey map. Karlsson scored an incredible 43 goals last year, including this between-the-legs beauty against the San Jose Sharks last March:
Are you a fan of incredible hand-eye coordination? Well, if you are, you’ll love this goal by Senators forward Matt Duchene. How on earth he was able to get a shot off and then bat the rebound out of mid-air is simply ridiculous. Many players around the league bat pucks out of mid-air, but not many can do it like this. It’s just not fair:
Duchene was able to bat the puck away from distance, but how about this double-tap from Crosby from in-close. Carey Price has absolutely no chance of keeping this puck out of the net. Also, Crosby would be a fantastic ball player:
Sorry Flyers fans, you’re on the list again for all the wrong reasons. It’s been an up and down year for Anthony Duclair, as he’s played on three teams over the last two seasons. He’s been a healthy scratch in Columbus on a few occasions this year, but he also scored a remarkable goal from his knees:
Alright, let’s get away from the NHL for a little bit. A gentleman by the name of Vincent Praplan pulled off a lacrosse-style goal during a Swiss League game this year. Yeah, this has been done before but it’ll never get old. Impressive stuff right here:
Montreal Canadiens prospect Jarret Tyszka will never be confused with Alex Ovechkin, but how about the effort and concentration it took to score this goal while falling down during WHL action last season:
Speaking of scoring while falling down, this goal by Cameron Stokes of the Paris Mounties is pretty sweet, too. Steal the puck in the corner and take care of business while going down. Not bad, not bad at all:
Jocelyne Lamoureux helped the U.S. win gold with this shootout goal against Team Canada:
Alright, back to the NHL. Panthers defender Mike Matheson isn’t known for his silky-smooth mitts, but he scored an incredible buzzer-beater against the Detroit Red Wings earlier this season. Even he seemed to be a little surprised that he was able to pull this off:
There’s some soft defending by Noah Juulsen here, but this is still a pretty incredible goal by Neal Pionk:
Don’t forget to check out NBC Sports’ Top 18 Goals of 2018. There’s some beauties here too:
Those who follow hockey closely were already aware that Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau is a really, really good player. His red-hot start to 2018-19 brings up a question, though: is he even better than we realized?
If you’re putting together a list of the hottest players in the NHL, quite a few of the top-end Panthers would be on there, including recent import Mike Hoffman. But don’t forget about Huberdeau … you know, scratch that. Huberdeau is forcing people to take notice.
The Quebec native generated three points (one goal, two assists) as the Panthers crushed the Boston Bruins 5-0 on Tuesday. With that, Huberdeau extended his multi-point streak to six games, giving him three goals and 11 assists for a whopping 14 points.
This isn’t merely a matter of a hot six games. Consider that, since Nov. 21, Huberdeau’s 16 points in eight games ranks second only to Nikita Kucherov, who’s managed a remarkable 18 in his own eight games.
Overall, Huberdeau has seven goals and almost an assist per game (24 in 26) to give him 31 points this season.
Huberdeau’s hot start doesn’t merely revolve around lucky bounces. His 11.7 shooting percentage is right around his career average (11.2), and Huberdeau’s on-ice shooting percentage (8.4) is actually below his career mark (8.9).
Goals like these paint a picture about this not just being about playing alongside Mike Hoffman and probable future Selke winner Aleksander Barkov, either:
Even with Vincent Trocheck sidelined thanks to that grisly injury, you’d think the Panthers would sport a better record than 11-10-5, considering the brilliant work by Huberdeau, Hoffman, Barkov, and Keith Yandle. Sitting four points out of the East’s final wild card spot (tied with the Penguins and Senators for 12th place with 27 points) isn’t just disappointing, it’s at times confounding.
Maybe we’ll look at that 5-0 win against the Bruins as something of a turning point for a Panthers team that’s been in quite a few tumultuous, close games lately?
A Florida team that combined solid-to-great goaltending with an already impressive arsenal? Sure, that would be scary, but we’ve seen that dream disintegrate plenty of times before, often as Luongo goes down with another injury. It remains to be seen if the Panthers can finally put it together after multiple false alarms.
That said, even if they fail to do so, it should be a lot of fun to watch Huberdeau and their other top players conduct some harmonic hockey, including against the Avalanche’s tremendous top trio on Thursday.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — There are the startling goals, the jaw-dropping passes and mind-bending moves. And in just two months, there are the rave reviews.
Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson is rocketing shots past goalies. He already has 13 goals and eight assists in 20 games, drawing comparisons to some of hockey’s best.
”I think he’s possibly one of the best players in the NHL already,” Canucks right wing Jake Virtanen said. ”He’s very fun to watch and obviously a treat to have on our team.”
Wayne Gretzky recently spoke about Pettersson on a Vancouver radio station, saying he sees similarities in how they both play.
Pettersson said being mentioned alongside Gretzky is a great honor, though it’s one he isn’t entirely comfortable with.
”I don’t know if anyone should be compared to him because he’s the greatest ever,” he said.
In October, Pettersson was named the league’s rookie of the month despite missing two weeks because of concussion from a hit by Florida’s Mike Matheson on Oct. 13. In early November, he became the youngest Canuck to have a five-point game when he helped Vancouver edge Colorado 7-6 in overtime.
The 6-foot-2, 176-pound Swede is quiet and humble off the ice. On it, he has shown he is more than an offensive juggernaut. He blocks shots and delivers hard back checks.
”I see shades of (former Detroit Red Wing) Pavel Datsyuk and those type of players in him,” Vancouver center Bo Horvat said. ”Just his hands, the way he moves out there.
”But I think he’s himself. I don’t think there’s any person in the league who’s like Elias Pettersson. He brings his own element to the game.”
Virtanen is struck by Pettersson’s savvy and intelligence.
”His IQ on the ice is beyond mine and beyond our team’s,” he said. ”I think. It’s pretty funny. When you see him out there, he’s just thinking of stuff to do that no one else would really think of.”
Andrew Calof played with Pettersson on the Vaxjo Lakers in Sweden last year. He says everyone knew right away he was a ”special talent” with an insatiable work ethic.
”He’s a perfectionist. When he sets his mind to something, he will accomplish it,” Calof wrote in an email to The Canadian Press from Russia, where he plays in the Kontinental Hockey League.
He recalls Pettersson’s dedication – constantly watching video and working after practice on shooting and passing.
”He just would spend so much time trying to improve every aspect of his game and that’s what makes him such a fantastic player,” he said. ”And what’s scary is he will only get better and better.”
Behind Pettersson, the Lakers captured the Swedish Hockey League championship. He led the league in scoring with 56 points and was the most valuable player.
”Whoever was on his line knew they were going to get a couple of extra points that week because Elias would do something crazy and either give you an open net or score a shot that you’re think was impossible,” Calof said.
Despite all the acclaim and attention, Pettersson insists he feels no extra pressure. He’s playing hockey and having fun.