April 23, 2011
Returning from a 2-game suspension last night for the Anaheim Ducks, Bobby Ryan(notes) scored one of the most impressive goals of the season, be it post- or regular. Watch as he uses David Legwand(notes) of the Nashville Predators as a prop before beating Pekka Rinne(notes) on the backhand in Game 5 on Friday night:
You know those scenes in an action movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger is outnumbered by the villains, so he knocks out one of the thugs and uses him as a human shield to absorb the attacks? This was the hockey goal equivalent.
Legwand lost his stick on the play, leaving him exposed and helpless, and Ryan capitalized by — to use a basketball term — posterizing him.
"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."
What makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs so intensely exceptional is that all of the NHL regular-season trappings — stats, highlights, individual achievement — are so clearly secondary to two things: victory and survival.
So while Bobby Ryan acknowledged it was a fantastic goal after the game, the bottom line is that Nashville now has a 3-2 Western Conference quarterfinals lead following its 4-3 overtime win. From Ducks Blog:
"It would have been a great goal to have in a win," Ryan said. "But, you know, 20 minutes later, it's a nonfactor. So I won't even think about it again."
Understandable. But there's no doubt that hockey fans will think about it when the final tally for goal of the year is taken.