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A couple of years ago, in the middle of a tight early-round Stanley Cup playoff series, I posted something on Facebook, contrasting hockey to basketball, which explains the concept behind this site:

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NHL GOALS OF THE YEAR

Anaheim Ducks

Brandon Montour
Corey Perry

Arizona Coyotes

Lawson Crouse
Christian Fischer

Boston Bruins

Riley Nash

Buffalo Sabres

William Carrier
Tyler Ennis

Calgary Flames

Mikael Backlund
Sean Monahan
Matthew Tkachuk

Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Kane
Jonathan Toews

Columbus Blue Jackets

Cam Atkinson
Markus Hannikainen
Scott Harrington

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn
Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel
Tyler Seguin

Detroit Red Wings

Andreas Athanasiou
Danny Dekeyser
Henrik Zetterberg

Edmonton Oilers

Jujhar Khaira
Oscar Klefbom

Florida Panthers

Aleksandr Barkov
Jaromir Jagr
Michael Sgarbossa

Los Angeles Kings

Dustin Brown
Tyler Toffoli

Minnesota Wild

Mikko Koivu
Zach Parise
Jared Spurgeon
Ryan Suter

Montreal Canadiens

Phillip Danault
Max Pacioretty

Nashville Predators

Viktor Arvidsson
Ryan Ellis
Calle Jarnkrok
Roman Josi

New Jersey Devils

Taylor Hall
Seth Hegelson
Steven Santini

New York Islanders

Josh Bailey
John Tavares

New York Rangers

Pavel Buchnevich
Chris Kreider
Derek Stepan

Philadelphia Flyers

Ivan Provorov
Jakub Voracek

Pittsburgh Penguins

Josh Archibald
Matt Cullen
Evgeni Malkin
Conor Sheary

San Jose Sharks

Mikkel Boedker
Patrick Marleau
Joel Ward

St. Louis Blues

Ivan Barbashev
Paul Stastny
Alexander Steen
Vladimir Tarasenko

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tyler Johnson

Toronto Maple Leafs

Nazem Kadri
Auston Matthews
William Nylander

Vancouver Canucks

Alexander Edler
Markus Granlund
Henrik Sedin
Brandon Sutter

Washington Capitals

Brett Connolly
Evgeny Kuznetsov
Matt Niskanen
Alex Ovechkin
Zach Sanford

Winnipeg Jets

Dustin Byfuglien
Andrew Copp
Mathieu Perrault
Mark Scheifele

THE SEASON’S MOST INTRIGUING GOALS

TYLER SEGUIN, Stars
WHY THERE’S NO INFIELD FLY RULE IN HOCKEY

Goaltenders are not trained to defend against pucks that drop down on them from immediately over their heads like infielders are with baseballs. So it’s never a sure thing what’s going to happen when a cluster of bodies around the goal looks skyward, everyone in a slight state of panic about what to do when the puck finally descends back to the ice surface.

Such a predicament awaited the Dallas and Los Angeles players once Tyler Seguin of the Stars had his shot from the slot deflected high in the air by Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin. Necks were craned and sticks were drawn like pistols from holsters all around, but the puck lazily floated over the shoulder of goaltender Peter Budaj.

Budaj made a last ditch effort to swat the puck away with his waffle like it was gnat around his breakfast plate, but he had about as much luck with that as the average Joe does with a fruit fly.

1/9/2017 vs. Los Angeles

The Hockey GoalDigger views every single goal from every single game. Enjoying such a visual bounty is never less than a pleasure. He has learned there is no such thing as an “ugly” goal. There are wacky goals, goals that are the result of pure grit, and efforts that should be hanging in the Louvre. All are a banquet for the GoalDigger’s eyes.

MARKUS GRANLUND, Canucks
BEST IN CLASS — DEFLECTION (OWN STICK)

Markus Granlund of the Canucks demonstrated uncommon hand-eye-back coordination when he scored on a deflection against Philadelphia.

It’s difficult enough to alter the course of a zooming hockey puck with just the tip of the stick. But to peform the task while falling to the ice following a cross-check — well that’s something you don’t see teams much practicing.

The Canucks center, however, performed the trick perfectly while being knocked to the ice by Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov. Complicating matters was that this was a long-distance deflection.

Granlund was set up in the lower part of the left circle. As he trained his eye on a slap shot from the left point by Daniel Sedin, he got whacked in his back by Provorov with enough force that he lost his balance and fell forward. Nonetheless, he kept his stick blade perfectly in place, about knee-high. By the time Granlund executed the deflection he had only one leg anchored to the ice, yet the puck couldn’t have been more perfectly placed, as it slid into the net, just inside the near post.

2/19/2017 vs. Philadelphia

In this section we present those extra-special efforts or just plain bizarre episodes where the puck happens to go in the net. We start with the most recent goals of note and work our way backward to the start of the season. Included are all the categories that these goals qualify for as well as a little teaser hint to prepare you for what’s coming. Those goals labeled “Best in Show” are literally that – the best goals of a particular scoring classification.

AUSTON MATTHEWS, Maple Leafs
AIR AUSTON

Auston Matthews didn’t so much drive the net to score against the Hurricanes as pilot himself to it.

After receiving a stretch pass from Jake Gardiner that carried along the boards all the way from behind the Toronto net, Matthews moved across the Carolina blue line with speed and a step on defender Phillip Di Giuseppe, who attempted to stop the freight train with a long one-handed swat of his stick across the churning legs of Matthews.

He sort of succeeded. As Di Giuseppe’s stick went flying toward the corner, so too did Matthews. But on the way, with his body twisting above the ice, the Leafs sensational rookie found a way to keep his stick trained on the puck. With his legs splayed in opposite directions as if buffeted by a real hurricane, and only his stick making contact with the ice, Matthews managed to push the puck into the Carolina net.

2/19/2017 vs. Carolina

So enjoy what you might have missed. And keep coming back each day for more of the most interesting goals scored during the NHL season.

THE SEASON’S MOST INTRIGUING GOALS

THE OVERTIME OVERTURE

It’s overtime! Too soon to break open the Buds? Not when they’re the “buds” it’s not. Pop a couple. Stick them in your ears. If you’re anything like me, you could last the entire 3-on-3 without a whistle on these. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing the league recognized iPods as legit performance enhancers!

This would be five minutes of uninterrupted madness. End-to-end. Sprawling poke checks. Then back on the skates for that overtime rarity: maniacal body checks. Headlong rushes whenever the puck was on my stick. If I put 10 shots on goal until one went in, that’s about what this anthem from Arcade Fire calls for. Doesn’t hurt that it was recorded not far from the Montreal Forum.

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EVERY NHL GOAL SCRUTINIZED, RANKED and CATALOGUED

GAME YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN: Oilers 4, Panthers 3

The Panthers, who have been injury-riddled and dormant for the entire season, came home last night after beginning to collect their players back and just as important, wins.

Aleksandr Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have recently rejoined the team following long absences. Both ignited Florida to a five-game win streak — all on the road.

The Oilers also have been playing very well, having won three of their last four coming into their game in Florida. While the Panthers, the Islanders, the Maple Leafs, and Bruins are separated by just one point for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, Edmonton sits comfortably in the Pacific Division, where the three top teams are under no immediate threat for their involvement in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

MOVEMENT WITHIN LEAGUE LEADER BOARDS (With Categories and League Rankings)
OSCAR KLEFBOM, Edmonton:
Slap Shot, 6th of the Year; Left Point, 2nd of the Year; Blue Line, 5th of the Year
OSCAR KLEFBOM, Edmonton
Slap Shot Left Point Blue Line
5 1 2

The high caliber of play being demonstrated by both teams was reflected by the dispersal of goals last night. Like a seven-game series in which the home team wins every game, the two teams traded goals right until the end, with the Oilers coming away with a 4-3 victory.

One of the key elements of Florida’s resurgence has been its proclivity to respond immediately after giving up a goal with a score of its own. They exercised no such instant urgency last night, but did tie the game on three separate occasions, including Jonathan Marchessault’s power play goal with four seconds left in the second period, when he inexplicably got behind the Edmonton defense and landed a wrist shot from the slot to tie the game at three heading into the final period.

The momentum, however, swung back to the other team as it had all night. The Oilers got the decisive goal from an unlikely hero, Kris Russell, who scored his first goal of the season with just under eight minutes left at the conclusion of a 4-on-2 rush for Edmonton.

ALEKSANDR BARKOV, Florida:
Right Circle (Lower, Inside Dot), 3rd of the Year
ALEKSANDR BARKOV, Florida
Right Circle (Lower, Inside Dot)
3

Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom opened the scoring with his 11th of the season with a bullet from the left point. He’s one of five players to score twice from there this year and only Brent Burns has put home more goals from the blue line in general. Barkov, who has been pistol-hot since returning to the lineup eight games ago, scored his sixth goal over that span in the first minute of the second period to tie the game at one.

But it was the unlikely goal from 10-year veteran Russell which captured the win for Edmonton, which is showing every indication of ending their 10-year playoff drought this season.

JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT, Florida:
Ahead of the Pack, 3rd of the Year; Behind Enemy Lines, 3rd of the Year
JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT, Florida
AHEAD OF THE PACK BEHIND ENEMY LINES
2 5
February 23rd, 2017|Categories: Games You Should Have Seen|0 Comments

JOSH BAILEY, ISLANDERS — NOBODY TO BEAT — EXCEPT TWO TEAMMATES

JOSH BAILEY, Islanders
NOBODY TO BEAT — EXCEPT TWO TEAMMATES
  • Wrist Shot
  • Slot
  • Unassisted
  • First Period

Josh Bailey of the Islanders found himself in unfamiliar waters last night.

He had just received a beautiful pass, right on the tape, from . . . Detroit goaltender Petr Mrazek. Furthermore, Mrazek presented it to him atop the faceoff dot in the right circle. Beyond this generosity, Mrazek was out for a stroll in trapezoidland.

Generally speaking, an NHL player will immediately convert such a gift into a goal. Bailey’s New York teammates, however, made him work for it.

First, Anders Lee skated right along with Bailey toward the slot, parallel to the Islander left wing and in his direct line to the goal the entire way. Lee, realizing he wasn’t doing his linemate any favors, then jumped straight up in the air to allow Bailey access to the goal.

The only problem was that it was no longer unfeathered access. Wings goalie Mrazek had returned to the net and was in position to demand that Bailey return his gift. As Lee was sticking his landing, John Tavares, who had been heading straight toward Bailey from the other direction at the time of the turnover, abruptly tried to reverse his course and in so doing also nearly separated Bailey from the puck. But Tavares put the brakes on quickly enough to allow Bailey, who was probably wondering by now whether he’d be caught from behind by an Islander defenseman, enough space to shoot the puck.

As it worked out, Lee provided a nice screen and Tavares peeled off just in time to allow Bailey a slot to shoot the puck past Mrazek, who by this time was out between the circles.

It was an unassisted goal. Josh Bailey will confirm this.

2/21/2017 vs. Detroit.
Highlight available at NHL.com.
February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Goal Box|0 Comments

NAZEM KADRI, MAPLE LEAFS — A HEADS UP PLAY

NAZEM KADRI, Maple Leafs
A HEADS UP PLAY
  • Wrist Shot
  • Behind End Line
  • Bank Shot
  • Carom Opponent’s Body Part
  • Second Period

When Craig Simpson, on Hockey Night in Canada, described Nazem Kadri’s goal against the Senators as, “a head’s up play,” an entire hockey-watching nation wondered at once, “Was that a Freudian slip. Or was it a questionable pun?”

The cognitive dissonance on the part of the audience followed some serious havoc on the ice.

Kadri thought he scored a goal. He didn’t. He momentarily raised his arms in celebration. Play went on. He then went head hunting.

Well, sort of.

As his intitial shot dribbled past the post behind the end line, Kadri recovered it and surveyed the scene in front of the net. No Leafs were around, but Ryan Dzingel had fallen in the crease, after successfully thwarting Kadri’s first foray. He was more or less pinned and immobile under goaltender Craig Anderson, who himself had lost his balance in the scramble for the puck.

It’s hard to say whether this was a “goal-scorer’s goal”, but if killer instinct is one of the requirements for such a designation, then Kadri passed the test with flying colors. Triangulating the path between where he held the puck, Dzingel’s head, and the goal, he chose Dzingel’s head.

To be fair, the helmeted part . . . but still.

As the puck lay in the net, Dzingel held his noggin in shell shock, as you might imagine. And that ringing in his ears was accompanied by the roar that immediately filled Air Canada Centre.

2/18/2017 vs. Ottawa.
Highlight available at NHL.com.
February 20th, 2017|Categories: Goal Box|0 Comments

S.A.T. DAY SATURDAY

1) Name the four NHL teams Wayne Gretzky played for

2.) Which team did Dino Ciccarelli score his 600th goal with

3.) It took 15 years after Rocket Richard scored 50 goals in a season for the feat to be repeated in the NHL. Who got there second?

February 18th, 2017|Categories: S.A.T. Day Saturday|2 Comments

RYAN SUTER, WILD — THE HIDDEN SHOT TRICK?

RYAN SUTER, Wild
THE HIDDEN SHOT TRICK?
  • Snap Shot
  • One-Timer
  • Carom (Opponent’s Skate or Body)
  • Above Right Circle
  • Power Play
  • Final Minute
  • First Period

With 3.8 seconds remaining in the first period and a faceoff in the Stars left circle, Minnesota devised a fine play, topped off by brilliant execution, to get the puck into the goal before the green light went on.

But the tantalizing question is . . . was it a trick play?

It’s debatable, but to the naked eye it sure looks like one.

The Wild was on a power play, so they recognized that those 3.8 seconds could be worked with if everything matched up with their preparation. Mikko Koivu did his part by winning the draw cleanly to Jason Pominville, who stood behind Koivu, just inside the boards. Pominville clearly expected Koivu to go his way with the puck. Immediately he pivoted and sent the puck cross-ice.

Here’s where things get mysterious, wacky, ingenious, or possibly none of the above.

At the top of the left circle, Zach Parise, his stick already cocked for a one-timer, launched into his swing. But the puck slid speedily past him to the opposite circle, where Ryan Suter was also poised for a one-timer. And, unlike Parise, Suter followed through on his shot. Radek Faksa of Dallas got over far enough to partially block Suter’s shot, but there was enough left on it to get past goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

Lehtonen was a split second slow to recognize the shot was coming off Suter’s stick — not Parise’s. And the puck got past him with a split-second remaining in the period.

If it were all a set-up, it worked brilliantly. If not — something for coaching staffs to think about for future similar situations.

The only nagging question about whether Parise’s 11 was responsible for this caper, in which captain Koivu and his two alternates played major roles, focuses on Parise’s failure to provide a phantom follow-through to his “shot” as the puck skittered by him. Perhaps he was concerned about striking it and consequently quashing the master plan. Or perhaps he meant to take the shot all along and was just surprised when it zipped by him to Suter on the opposite side of the ice.

Whatever the answer, there’s a good chance the Wild aren’t telling.

1/21/2017 vs. Anaheim.
Highlight available at NHL.com.
February 17th, 2017|Categories: Goal Box|0 Comments

THREE-FER THURSDAY: Tuomo Ruutu Has a Career Night

Finnish import Tuomo Ruutu had a fairly uneventful career after being selected with the 9th pick of the 2001 entry draft by the Blackhawks.

Over 13 NHL seasons with Chicago, Carolina, and New Jersey, Ruutu only made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs one time, in 2008-09, when the Hurricanes advanced to the conference finals. That was also the year he recorded 26 goals, topping the 23 he scored as a rookie for the Blackhawks in 2003-04, finishing sixth in the Calder Trophy voting. By the time his career was over, he finished with just under 150 goals and was a fairly inconspicuous NHL presence overall.

He got himself a hat trick, however, on Dec. 16 2009 against Dallas. The goals all came from in close. The first followed a cross-crease pass and he banged it in on the fly. The second was a flukey carom off a skate in front following his centering pass. And the third was into an empty net.

You may wonder what about this is particularly worth recalling. You may also enjoy cutaway shots to skimpily-clad cheerleaders. You may have just gotten your answer.

February 16th, 2017|Categories: Three-fer Thursday|0 Comments
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RECENT MOVEMENT
ATOP LEADERBOARDS

ODD-MAN RUSH (3-on-2)
T.J. OSHIE vs. FLYERS
2 T.J. Oshie, Washington
2 Tomas Tatar, Detroit
2 Seth Jones, Columbus
2 Logan Couture, San Jose
2 Patrick Maroon, Edmonton
2 Jeff Carter, Los Angeles
2 Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit
2/22/2017
LEFT POINT
OSCAR KLEFBOM vs. PANTHERS
2 Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton
2 Nikita Nesterov, Mont. / TB
2 Michael Matheson, Florida
2 Ryan McDonagh, Rangers
2 Michael Del Zotto, Philadelphia
2/22/2017
SLIDE / STUFF / POKE / JAM / TAP / CHIP / SHOVEL
RICHARD RAKELL vs. BRUINS
5 Richard Rakell, Anaheim
5 Mikael Granlund, Minnesota
4 Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
4 Patrick Maroon, Edmonton
4 Mikael Backlund, Calgary
2/22/2017
RUNNING UP A BAR TAB
FILIP FORSBERG vs. FLAMES
3 Filip Forsberg, Nashville
3 Shea Weber, Montreal
3 Patrick Eaves, Dallas
3 Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg
3 Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis
2/21/2017
OFF POST AND IN
FILIP FORSBERG vs. FLAMES
3 Filip Forsberg, Nashville
3 Shea Weber, Montreal
3 Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis
2/21/2017
RIGHT CIRCLE (LOWER, INSIDE DOT)
WILLIAM NYLANDER vs. JETS
6 William Nylander, Toronto
4 T.J. Oshie, Washington
2/22/2017
LEFT CIRCLE (MIDDLE, INSIDE DOT)
NIKOLAJ EHLERS vs. TORONTO
4 Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg
4 Max Pacioretty, Montreal
3 Partrik Laine, Winnipeg
3 Mikko Rantanen, Colorado
3 Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis
2/21/2017
SLAP SHOTS
SHEA WEBER vs. RANGERS
11 Shea Weber, Montreal
11 Artemi Panarin, Chicago
7 Alex Ovechkin, Washington
6 Mike Hoffman, Ottawa
6 Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton
6 David Pastrnak, Boston
6 PK Subban, Nashville
2/22/2017
REDIRECTS
SIDNEY CROSBY vs. HURRICANES
7 Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
4 Artem Anisimov, Chicago
4 Patrick Berglund, St. Louis
4 Thomas Vanek, Detroit
2/21/2017
LEFT CIRCLE (LOWER, INSIDE DOT)
MIKAEL BACKLUND vs. PREDATORS
4 Mikael Backlund, Calgary
4 Matt Moulson, Buffalo
4 Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles
3 Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia
3 Patrick Berglund, St. Louis
3 Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
3 Martin Hanzal, Arizona
3 Patrick Marleau, San Jose
3 Jaromir Jagr, Florida
3 Richard Rakell, Anaheim
2/21/2017
RIGHT POINT
PK SUBBAN vs. FLAMES
3 PK Subban, Nashville
3 Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg
2 Brent Burns, San Jose
2 Dougie Hamilton, Calgary
2 Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton
2 Alec Martinez, Los Angeles
2 Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis
2/21/2017
GOALTENDER PULLED FOR EXTRA SKATER
RYAN GETZLAF vs. COYOTES
2 Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim
2 Mike Hoffman, Ottawa
2 Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg
2 Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia
2/20/2017
GOAL-MOUTH
WAYNE SIMMONDS vs. CANUCKS
17 Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia
15 Artem Anisimov, Chicago
14 Patrick Maroon, Edmonton
14 Nick Foligno, Columbus
13 Ryan Kesler, Anaheim
12 Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
12 Nazem Kadri, Toronto
12 Auston Matthews, Toronto
12 Chris Kreider, Rangers
2/21/2017
AHEAD OF THE PACK
JASON ZUCKER vs. PREDATORS
4 Jason Zucker, Minnesota
3 Michael Grabner, Rangers
3 Connor McDavid, Edmonton
3 Alex Ovechkin, Washington
3 Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit
3 Tomas Tatar, Detroit
3 Jonathan Marchessault, Florida
3 Mitchell Marner, Toronto
2/22/2017
BLUE LINE (CENTER ICE)
BRENT BURNS vs. COYOTES
6 Brent Burns, San Jose
4 Shea Weber, Montreal
3 Jake Gardiner, Toronto
3 Nick Leddy, Islanders
3 Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis
3 Kyle Quincey, New Jersey
3 Roman Josi, Nashville
3 Jeff Petry, Montreal
2/21/2017
BLUE LINE
BRENT BURNS vs. COYOTES
9 Brent Burns, San Jose
5 Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton
5 Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis
5 PK Subban, Nashville
4 Jake Gardiner, Toronto
4 Jeff Petry, Montreal
4 Shea Weber, Montreal
4 Kyle Quincey, New Jersey
2/22/2017
SCREEN
BRENT BURNS vs. COYOTES
10 Brent Burns, San Jose
7 Mike Hoffman, Ottawa
7 PK Subban, Nashville
6 Cam Fowler, Anaheim
6 Jake Gardiner, Toronto
6 Nazem Kadri, Toronto
6 David Krecji, Boston
6 Patrik Laine, Winnipeg
6 Bobby Ryan, Ottawa
6 Shea Weber, Montreal
2/21/2017
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