Goals that define a playoff year are rare enough that you can probably only come up with a handful for various reasons. Brett Hull's foot in the crease against Buffalo? Memorable because of the rules in place that season. Darren McCarty's flash of brilliance against the Philadelphia Flyers? For a hard-nosed, tough competitor like McCarty, it was like watching a kid dominate the competition in a shinny game. Mario Lemieux has had a couple of goals like that. His move on Jon Casey in the 1991 Stanley Cup Final was a thing of beauty. And thanks to Bobby Ryan's ridiculous moves in today's Anaheim-Nashville game, memories of that Lemieux goal came flooding back.
Here is the Lemieux goal as it happened. It still gives me chills watching how good he was as a pure goal-scorer.
However, fast forward to 2011 where Bobby Ryan, the second overall pick behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby in their draft year, makes a couple of Mario Lemieux-like moves as he breaks in on Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators.
David Legwand is still looking for his jockstrap in the arena as you read this. That was an outstanding individual effort, and it certainly has "Goal of the Year" written all over it.
However, there is one major difference that may keep this goal in memories, but not push it to the forefront as one of the best goals ever. The Anaheim Ducks lost this game, and now trail the Nashville Predators 3-2 in their series. As inspiring this goal is and for all the firing up it may have done for the Ducks, they still dropped Game Five.
Brett Hull, Darren McCarty, and Mario Lemieux all won Stanley Cups in the years that their goals took place. All three scored their goals in Stanley Cup Finals where they hoisted the Stanley Cup soon after. None of them lost the game where they scored their memorable goal.
So I have to ask, readers: despite being an overwhelming favorite for "Goal of the Year", does Bobby Ryan's goal lose its lustre if the Ducks lose this game? And does it lose its immortality if the Ducks are eliminated by the Predators in the first round of the playoffs? Comments are certainly welcome on this one as the merits of immortality are discussed.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!