Which NHLer scored the best goal of the season?

Which NHLer scored the best goal of the season?

Only one player scored two of the NHL’s top 16 goals this season.

Hint: He wears No. 97 for the Oilers.

But in CBC Sports’ best goals of the season bracket, Connor McDavid still faces some fierce competition – including an elite eight Battle of Alberta matchup vs. top-seeded Matthew Tkachuk.

With the NHL on pause because of health concerns over coronavirus, here’s your chance to have a say on who scored the season’s best goal.

Voting is based on pure skill — it doesn’t matter that Tkachuk’s between-the-legs OT winner was an OT winner. It matters that it was between the legs. Still, we wanted to add some of the context behind each goal.

(CBC Sports)

Voting runs daily from 1 p.m. ET until noon ET the next day, every day until Wednesday, April 8.

Presenting the ‘Elite Eight’:

No. 1 Matthew Tkachuk vs. No. 9 Connor McDavid

Besides the whole between-the-legs OT winner thing, Tkachuk’s goal also came with 1.4 seconds remaining to complete a three-goal comeback against the Predators. The goalie he beat was Pekka Rinne, who’ll show up later on this list. 

A #HotTake on Tkachuk as top seed: he only had room to pull off the move because it was OT, and with that little time remaining he just needed to get the puck on the net. Still pretty sick, though.

McDavid at No. 9 is a tough second-round draw for Tkachuk. This was the Edmonton star’s first goal in his hometown (Toronto) to seal a big win for the Oilers. Bearing down 1-on-1 with top Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly, McDavid looks one way and bursts past Rielly with two strong crossovers the other way before picking the short corner against Michael Hutchinson.

We should say this goal was scored 4-on-4, meaning again there was more room to manoeuvre. Should it matter that the goal was scored on a backup goalie who sported an .866 save percentage with the Leafs?

WATCH AND VOTE:

No. 4 Sonny Milano vs. No. 12 Auston Matthews

Both contenders here barely won their first-round matchups, with Milano edging 13th-seeded Sidney Crosby with 52 per cent of the vote and Matthews upsetting No. 5 Jack Eichel at 53 per cent.

Milano’s marker came way back in October, his first of the season and what turned out to be the game-winner for the Blue Jackets against the Stars. Milano nutmegs a Dallas forward at the blueline before streaking in, putting the puck back between his legs and finding the top corner.

After the game, goalie victim Ben Bishop took it on the chin: “You don’t like being on the other end of it, but sometimes you have to tip your hat. It’s an impressive goal.”

Matthews responded in December, toe-dragging to get past Sabres forward Conor Sheary before going forehand-backhand to beat backup goalie Linus Ullmark. What made it all impressive was the tight quarters Matthews had to navigate, with two nearly identical dekes one after another.

WATCH AND VOTE:

No. 3 Connor McDavid vs. No. 11 Alex Ovechkin

McDavid’s second entrant in the bracket is a pure classic. The Oilers captain, starting from his own blue line, wins a race to the puck in the slot with a Flyers defenceman starting at centre. Goalie Carter Hart doesn’t have time to react before the puck’s in the net.

Not much analysis needed there. McDavid is fast.

But for this goal to reach the Final Four, McDavid must beat Ovechkin, who stunned No. 6 Mitch Marner in the first round on a goal that propelled him past Mario Lemieux on the all-time scoring list.

And he didn’t make it easy. Ovechkin first dances past Isles d-man Scott Mayfield before turning to his backhand and shovelling the puck past Semyon Varlamov and into the net… while falling down. Eerily similar to another classic goal from The Great 8.

An interesting matchup here, as the smooth-skating McDavid goes against the skill and strength of Ovechkin.

Voting will open on Saturday, April 4

No. 15 Pekka Rinne vs. No. 10 Andrei Svechnikov

Yup, we told you Rinne would return. And yup, it was as a scorer, not as a goalie. And it happened exactly as you’d expect a goalie goal to happen. Predators up a pair, Blackhawks net empty and Rinne doesn’t miss his shot.

But the goalie, after defeating teammate Filip Forsberg and his full-speed lacrosse goal in the first round, now faces the marquee ‘Michigan,’ as the lacrosse goal’s also known.

The only difference: Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov did it first. Like, ever, in the history of the NHL. Rinne can’t claim that for goalie goals (though he was the first since 2013). 

Voting will open on Saturday, April 4

Previously eliminated

  • No. 2 Filip Forsberg pulls off lacrosse goal at full speed
  • No. 5 Jack Eichel dangles from east to west
  • No. 6 Mitch Marner dekes before backhand finish
  • No. 7 Gabriel Landeskog splits the defence
  • No. 8 Blake Coleman finishes with one hand
  • No. 13 Sidney Crosby displays patience
  • No. 14 Ivan Provorov goes coast to coast
  • No. 16 Shea Weber scores off double-slapper​​​​​​ 

Published at Fri, 03 Apr 2020 17:31:20 +0000