Sam Page
Sunday December 29th, 2013

Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates a goal against the New York Islanders. We wish to thank Pavel Datsyuk and the New York Islanders for their contributions to this list. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

By Sam Page

What is a great hockey goal? Do you just know it when you see it? Is it contingent on the quality of the competition involved? Should it play a significant role in the game, or the season?

Merriam-Webster defines a goal as "something that you are trying to do or achieve." I define a great goal as the actual act of shooting the puck, during the action of a game, and having the red light flash despite the odds against it happening. So on this list you will find no great assists on tap-in goals, no video game-esque shootout goals, and no penalty shots. This list is just the year's 13 best individual efforts in getting the biscuit into the basket.

MORE: 13 best players | Hits | Games | Memes | Tweets | Weird moments | Most painful | Front office moves

13. Canada meets Seth Jones (10/19/13)

There might have been a few flashier goals that merited inclusion here, but Jones' poise in the waning minutes of his first game in Montreal turned a lot of heads in Canada's mainstream media.

12. Dan Boyle goes coast-to-coast (4/13/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2352Qj9OL9g]

The final move here isn't too flashy, but 99 percent of the forwards in this league aren't going to blow past Ryan Suter, never mind Boyle's fellow defensemen.

11. Zdeno Chara, Slovakia's foremost ballerina (2/24/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF0yniA1NaI]

My suggestion: play this video with the sound off and Tchaikovsky in the background. Here, let me help.

10. Pavel Datsyuk goes through the Predators (2/19/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GFfzwsOGuM]

Personally, I think this goal is more Preds blooper than Datsyuk highlight, but people love it. In the genre of Nashville's Kevin Klein getting posterized, this goal makes a good case to bump Datsyuk off the list.

9. Patrick Kane's spin-o-rama (3/16/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjcG91CtlGM]

If we included his shootout goals, this one probably wouldn't even rank top 20.

8. Jay McClement?! (4/13/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg8pMcV5EJg]

We're speechless.

7. Shawn Matthias' shorty vs. Boston (3/14/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i02Khp0NfM]

The play that leads to the goal is more impressive than the shot, but as it's all one effort, I let it slide.

6. Eric Fehr wins it in OT (3/5/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXPgcjNvi2E]

Yea, Ovi!!!! Oh wait, what player was that?

5. Claude Giroux's no-look backhander (12/19/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-rbu1py_T8]

That's a heck of a way to win a game.

4. Sidney Crosby splits Isles' defense (12/3/13)

I remember someone tweeting before this game that Islanders rookie Calvin de Haan would be defending Crosby and thinking something like this might happen.

3. Corey Perry from his knees (12/9/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yo-OaL6CBc]

This is a brutal top-five for the Islanders' de Haan-Hamonic pairing, really.

2. Pavel Datsyuk's one-man man show vs. Stars (11/7/13)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRByQXrW3OQ]

Much better than No. 9 on thist list in my opinion, but reasonable Datsyukian scholars may disagree.

1. Tomas Hertl through the legs for #4 (10/8/13)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMw4nksG7UQ] The only thing that would have made this goal better was if Joe Thornton scored it. Eh ... maybe not.

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