SI's top 10 NHL goals of 2014
10. Steven Stamkos (vs. Senators; 3/24)
The hand-eye coordination it takes to bat the puck out of the air is special enough, but the fact that Steven Stamkos a) chokes up, and b) is mindful enough to keep the blade of his stick below the crossbar makes this one all the better. Tallies like this must be reviewed, but in this case, can you blame the officiating crew for wanting to watch it again and again from a variety of angles?
9. Vladimir Tarasenko (vs. Predators; 2/1)
Anytime you can reduce a hockey analyst—someone who is paid to know the right words to say at any given moment—to a simple, "That was awesome!" you're clearly doing something right. The only way Predators goalie Carter Hutton knew where this shot was by hearing the ping of a freshly dented post and seeing the glare of the flashing red light behind him.
8. Nathan Gerbe (vs. Flyers; 1/22)
Warning: Watching this goal may cause you to pull a muscle. Gerbe went all-out for the full length of the ice, beating Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn by a country mile. Then he ran out a move that most guys can't even pull off in practice, taking Steve Mason east to west while putting the puck between the netminder's legs.
7. Brad Marchand (vs. Kings; 1/20)
Marchand is one of the league's top penalty killers, and it just so happens that he's pretty crafty on offense, too. Combine the two and you get one heckuva highlight reel goal. The Bruins' pint-sized winger deked out the entire Kings power play unit, including goalie Jonathan Quick, in one play.
6. Alex Ovechkin (vs. Devils; 12/20)
Is there anybody on the planet who doubts the hands on Alex Ovechkin? When the Great 8 puts them on display, everybody gets caught watching, and that includes Devils defenseman Jon Merrill. Ovechkin took him inside-outside before victimizing goalie Cory Schneider with a rooftop backhand—while falling.
5. Patrik Elias (vs. Lightning; 12/19)
Sometimes it takes a little extra time to craft a masterpiece. Elias put this one on display by deftly picking apart Matt Carle before using the Lightning defenseman as a pylon for a spin-o-rama. Making matters worse for the Bolts is the knuckle-puck of a backhand that Marchand unleashed on goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who can only flail at it.
4. Seth Griffith (vs. Devils; 11/10)
First, Griffith blocked a shot at the point, then he split the New Jersey defenders, outhustling and outmuscling Marek Zidlicky. As if this play wasn't already a pretty mixture of speed and grit, he finished it off by tapping the puck, backward, between his legs and right through Cory Schneider's. Not a bad way to score your fourth career NHL goal.
3. Tyler Ennis (vs. Canadiens; 11/28)
There's just no quit in this play. Ennis kept his legs pumping towards the net, turned Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin around, squeezed through the smallest bit of daylight, and jumped past netminder Carey Price, maintaining his balance just long enough to rip a backhander into the gaping net.
2. Gustav Nyquist (vs. Lightning; 3/30)
Nyquist burst onto the scene pretty quickly during the 2013-14 season, and he certainly brought his A-game. Perhaps none of his 28 goals were prettier than this one, in which the Lightning threw everything in his way. Defenseman Matt Carle did everything but assault him, goalie Ben Bishop turned him to the corner, and Nyquist still found a way to get the puck into the back of the net—while spinning.
1. Vladimir Tarasenko (vs. Rangers; 11/3)
When you score a goal that inspires its own flip book, you know you've done something special. Tarasenko's breakout year included this beauty of a tally in which he skated through center ice, split the defense, and deked Rangers goalie Cam Talbot out of his pants. What made this one even more incredible was the one-handed finish earned a spot at the top of our list.
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