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Stanley Cup Playoffs Greatest Ever Goals
Best NHL Playoff Goals
By Bob Duff
In an instant, a hockey player on the game's greatest stage can anoint himself to legenday status, simply by being in the right place in the right time. Some were spectacular, some were bang-bang plays, others merely fluke plays. But all of them hold a place in the lore of the NHL among the Stanley Cup's greatest goals.
1. Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins (May 10, 1970)
Hockey's most famous goal, captured forever in the magical photo catching Orr soaring through the air after his feet were flipped out from under him by St. Louis Blues defenseman Noel Picard. The 1969-70 NHL season was the year of Orr. He led the NHL in scoring, becoming the first defenseman to do so and the first defender to post a 100-point season. He won the Hart, Norris and Conn Smythe Tropies to go with his Art Ross triumph, and capped it off by netting the Cup-winning tally.
2. Bill Barilko, Toronto Maple Leafs (April 21, 1951)
An OT winner to finish off a five-game series in which every game went extra time, Barilko's snipe is made more epic because he'd never score another, or play another game. Embarking on a Northern Ontario fishing trip shortly after the end of the 1950-51 season, the plane carrying Barilko and pilot Dr. Henry Hudson disappeared in the woods. The wreckage and their remains wouldn't be found until the spring of 1962 - right after another Stanley Cup win by the Maple Leafs.
3. Brett Hull, Dallas Stars (June 19, 1999)
To this day, you can ask any Buffalo Sabres fan and they will insist it was no goal, Hull's controversial Cup winner in overtime of Game 6 of the final series. His foot was barely in the crease as he whipped the puck past Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek but by the rules of the day, that should have meant the goal be disallowed. But it stood and the Stars had their first Stanley Cup.
4. Bob Nystrom, New York Islanders (May 24, 1980)
Long a bridesmaid, the Islanders finally found the formula for Stanley Cup success in the spring of 1980. Beating the Philadelphia Flyers in a six-game final series, it was Bob Nystrom's OT winner that proved the decisive goal. Finally breaking through to win it all, the Islanders took a liking to being on top and won four straight Stanley Cup finals.
5. Tony Leswick, Detroit Red Wings (April 16, 1954)
Only two Stanley Cup finals have gone to overtime in Game 7 and both were won by the Red Wings on goals by checkers. Pete Babando was the hero in 1950 against the New York Rangers and Leswick in 1954 versus the Montreal Canadiens. Leswick's shot proved the theory of overtime - just put pucks on net. His seemingly harmless long shot deflected off the glove of Habs defenseman Doug Harvey and eluded goalie Gerry McNeil.
6. Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens (May 5, 1966)
Before Brett Hull's goal, this was the most debated ending to a Stanley Cup final series. Richard was pulled down by Detroit defenseman Gary Bergman. Both slid into Wings goalie Roger Crozier and the puck ended up in the net. Bergman and the rest of the Wings argued that Richard pushed the puck in with his glove. Richard insisted that he had no idea the puck had gone in until he was mobbed by delirious teammates.
7. Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins (May 17, 1991)
It didn't win them the Stanley Cup but it set the tone for the series. Mario Lemieux's spectacular breakaway goal in Game 2 of the 1991 final series against the Minnesota North Stars is one of the most amazing displays of individual skill that you will ever witness. The Penguins would win their first Cup that spring led by their sensational captain.
8. Alec Martinez, Los Angeles Kings (June 13, 2014)
The Kings were destiny's darlings in the 2014 playoffs, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat San Jose in the opening round and becoming the first team to win three straight seven game series. They clinched the Cup in five against the New York Rangers on this overtime marker by defenseman Martinez.
9. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (June 9, 2010)
The goal that nobody knew went into the net. Patrick Kane's quick shot as he was circling the Philadelphia Flyers goal leaked through goalie Michael Leighton and in, even though play by plan man Doc Emrick, and the vast majority of players on the ice and fans in the crowd took several seconds to recognize that the Blackhawks had won their first Stanley Cup since 1961.
10. Darren McCarty, Detroit Red Wings (June 7, 1997)
Poised for a sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers, it wasn't Wings stars Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom or Sergei Fedorov who would score the goal that would bring Detroit its first Stanley Cup since 1955 but McCarty, a grinder and tough guy better known for his fist than his hands. But he displayed astonishing touch on this tally.
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