There haven't been a large number of plays this season that immediately demand goal of the year consideration. But this long-distance spin-o-rama backhander from Nathan Gerbe(notes) of the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night demands it:
The Sabres needed a point to clinch a playoff berth, and this goal — his second of the night — at 10:03 of the third period tied the game at 3-3, which is where it stayed until Thomas Vanek's(notes) OT goal won it against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I want to be a guy who scores goals and scores big goals, and for me to do that is pretty special," Gerbe said.
"I thought it was going to hit the bar and go out, so I was kind of just praying that it would hit and go in. That's a great feeling. To come out this way and get the win is special for them and special for us."
So do we have Dan Carcillo(notes) of the Flyers to thank for this effort? Buffalo Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff said in his postgame press conference that the Flyers agitator patted the diminutive Gerbe (he's 5-foot-5) on the head to taunt him:
"[The goal] was really special after Carcillo was pattin' him on the head there, by the bench. He was pattin' him on top of the head, and then a shift later Gerbe scored. After the game, I gave Gerbs a little pat on the back myself. It's nice to see. He got under a guy's skin that's got under a lot of other guys' skin and scored the biggest goal of the year for us."
The spin, the placement of the puck, the context … all of it combines to produce one of the better goals of the season.