After 89 playoff games, the Stanley Cup was handed out on Wednesday night to the Boston Bruins. Hockey is gone from our televisions for the next four months and the goals that excite us on a nightly basis from October to June are put on hold.
There were exactly 499 goals scored in the 2011 playoffs. We managed to whittle them down to 10.
After the jump, our top 10 goals of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
And here ... we ... go ...
10. Nicklas Lidstrom vs. San Jose Sharks, Round 2
Is baseball big in Sweden? Or cricket? Another year, another feat by the 40-year Lidstrom that made us do a double-take. His ground ball swing takes a great hop and past Antti Niemi, who had no idea where the puck was thanks to a Johan Franzen screen:
9. Todd Bertuzzi vs. San Jose Sharks, Round 2
In the same game as Lidstrom's baseball show, Bertuzzi put home a backhand from the left faceoff circle past Niemi. Normally, Bert saves the spin-o-rama for shootouts, but since we don't see those in the playoffs ... :
8. Martin St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Round 1
Typical Marty St. Louis. Fights his way into space, out-hustles an opponent and beats the goalie. Also, helluva flip pass by Vinny Lecavalier:
7. Tyler Seguin vs. Tampa Bay Lighting, Eastern Conference Final
In his NHL playoff debut, Seguin made quite the impression en route to piling up six points in two games. He kicked off the mini-streak by making Mike Lundin look silly:
6. Claude Giroux vs. Buffalo Sabres, Round 1
If you pause this play just as Giroux enters the Sabres' zone, he's surrounded by four players. How much room can he create for himself? Well, after a few dekes apparently just enough:
5. Bryan Bickell vs. Vancouver Canucks, Round 1
Bryan Bickell scored 17 goals for the Blackhawks during the regular season, but none were as pretty as the dangle show he put on Kevin Bieksa to open the scoring in Chicago's 7-2 Game 3 rout that began their series comeback:
4. Ryan Kesler vs. Nashville Predators, Round 2
As Kesler was in the middle of owning the Predators with an 11-point series, he gave us a spectacular effort in Game 4, splitting the defense pairing of Shea Weber and Shane O'Brien:
3. Jonathan Toews vs. Vancouver Canucks, Round 1
Game 7s are when big players show up and Toews has fit that mold in his young career. With just under two minutes to go and their season on the line, the Blackhawks trailed the Canucks 1-0 in Game 7, but not for long after Captain Serious drove to the Vancouver net and put home a rebound while on his knees. Oh, and it was shorthanded, too:
2. Brad Marchand vs. Vancouver Canucks, Stanley Cup Final
You can call him a pest and an agitator, but you also have to call him a good hockey player. Marchand put home this individual effort shorthanded in Game 3 and became the new goal-scoring leader among rookies in Bruins history with 11 goals:
1. Bobby Ryan vs. Nashville Predators, Round 1
There's so much ridiculousness to this goal that there was no choice but to give it No. 1. In his first game back from a 2-game suspension for stomping the foot of Jonathon Blum, Ryan gave us the goal of the playoffs in what eventually would be a losing effort for the Anaheim Ducks:
Ryan explained his dirty deking afterwards to Ducks Blog:
"He had no stick so he's a little vulnerable, I guess," Ryan said. "I didn't have a whole lot of speed and he did, so I just tried to cut back as many times as I could. I avoided the poke-check and got a little lucky in that I could get it up over his (Rinne's) pad."
Poor David Legwand. First, he's helpless because he loses his stick, then he's got to watch Ryan complete his magical play after whiffing on a bodycheck.