The 15 Best Goals from the First Round of the NHL Playoffs (So Far)

by 9 years ago

15. Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes

Game 1 vs. Detroit Red Wings
 

Vrbata doesn’t give us anything fancy here, he just uses a screen provided by #23 Brad Stuartsticks to stick a good old-fashioned slap shot straight into the upper left. Simple shot. Probably called corner pocket as he was winding up. I love how the puck seems to float up there for a second after catching the corner of the net.

 
14. Pavel Datsyuk/Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings
Game 2 vs. Phoenix Coyotes
 
 
Datsyuk shows us why he is easily considered one of the best stickhandlers in the league with this slick betwen-the-legs shot. Even though Datsyuk didn’t score on the play, his creative shot that sets up Darren Helm’s goal deserves consideration.
 
13. David Schlemko, Phoenix Coyotes
Game 3 vs. Detroit Red Wings
 
 
Topshelf? Check. Double-piper? Check. Last name Schlemko? Check. 
 
12. Ben Smith, Chicago Blackhawks
Game 6 vs. Vancouver Canucks
 
 
It seems like this kid has a nack for scoring big goals. The 22-year-old was the Frozen Four’s MVP a year ago, having scored B.C.'s game winner in the Finals against Wisconsin. Now he has put the Blackhawks into a Game 7 with all the momentum after netting an OT gamewinner while falling down over a sprawled-out Roberto Luongo. Props to Marian Hossa on the fancy footwork.
 
11. Eric Christensen, New York Rangers
Game 3 vs. Washington Capitals
 
 
Eric Christensen might not be the most accomplished guy on this list but the man knows how to go topshelf and god dammit do I respect that. I feel like half of his goals this year were him sneaking the puck just between the goalie and the pipe, as in the case of this goal. Just when it looks like Michael Neuwirth has blocked every possible angle, Christensen snipes it right by his earhole for a goal.{pagebreak}
10. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals
Game 1 vs. New York Rangers
 
 
It hurt me to see the Rangers lose Game 1 in overtime (and lose the series) but I have to put this goal up. Semin manages to perfectly one-time this one passed Lundqvist, who could do nothing to stop this rocket. Thankfully, this Washington Post headline fail helps dull the pain:
 
 
9. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Game 2 vs. Phoenix Coyotes
 
 
What I love about this goal is how easy Datsyuk makes it look. He just waits paitiently until the defenseman is committed to blocking then subtly toe-drags the puck to his right to change the angle before firing it low, all in one motion. Goalie never saw it coming. Classy and filthy at the same time.
 
8. Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators
Game 1 vs. Anaheim Ducks
 
 
If I had my way, Mike Fisher would make his way onto Bro of the Week at least once a month. The guy has ridiculous flow and scores sick goals like this on the reg, stopping on a dime and ripping it topshelf. Oh, and when he’s not playing hockey, he’s sexing up my dream girl Carrie Underwood:
 
 
 
7. Michael Frolik, Chicago Blackhawks
Game 6 vs. Vancouver Canucks
 
 
The penalty shot is a rare sight in playoff games (46 shots in 74 years) and Michael Frolik made sure to take advantage when he was awarded one in Game 6. The Czech flew down and deked Canucks goalie Cory Schneider so bad that he had to leave the game with a pulled groin.
 
6. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Game 2 vs. Chicago Blackhawks
 
 
A friend of mine who played hockey all his life has tried to convince me that redirecting a puck isn’t that hard. I say that’s absolute horseshit. Trying to redirect a 3-inch puck moving at upwards of 80 m.p.h. with a stick blade that is 1 foot by 2.5 inches while not getting hit sounds pretty f*cking hard to me. With the added fact that Sedin is in mid-air while he does this, I’d say that’s pretty damn impressive. {pagebreak}
 
5. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
Game 6 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
 
 
Thomas Vanek has made a living in the NHL as a goal scorer thanks to his fantastic hands and stick work. Here he shows off those skills by putting the puck and stick between his legs, a la Marek Malik, to beat Michael Leighton 5-hole.
 
4. Bryan Bickell, Chicago Blackhawks
Game 4 vs. Vancouver Canucks
 
 
Bickell is a grinder who is more known for his toughness and missing front teeth. However, here he shows he’s got some nice skills and speed, blowing by Kevin Bieksa with a smooth hesitation move and then diving to slide the puck past a helpless Robert Luongo.
 
3. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers 
Game 2 vs. Buffalo Sabres
 
 
The Canadian playmaker has his way with four Sabres players before roofing a goal past Ryan Miller, last year’s Vezina winner. After bursting on the scene in last season's playoffs, this is the kind of magic we’ve come to expect from Girioux and his gross flow.
 
2. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Game 5 vs. New York Rangers
 
 
People can say what they want about Ovechkin being a disappointment in the playoffs but don't knock his skills — the dude can straight up dangle. I feel like we’ve seen him make this same move flawlessly 20 times in the last few years from both the left and right sides of the ice. Even more impressive that he scores it on the best-looking man in hockey.
 
1. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
Game 5 vs. Nashville Predators
 
 
The N.J. native makes David Legwand of the Preds look foolish, undressing him twice in a row then calmly putting a backhand passed Pekka Rinne. Preliminary estimations have Ryan getting laid at least four times in the locker room after the game thanks to this goal. This sick move is definitely in the running for goal of the year and reminds me of one of my favorite playoff goals of all time, a shorthanded gem courtesy Super Mario Lemieux:
 


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