Tonight begins an exciting and arduous two-month journey that will culminate in a 16th and final win for one hockey team, as they will earn Lord Stanley’s Cup and become the 2010-2011 NHL Championships. A national pastime in Canada, and often an oversight in the United States, the NHL offers arguably the most exciting playoff tournament of all sports, from start to finish. Unlike the NBA, there are plenty of first round upsets and series go much longer than simply four games. What’s more, the sudden death overtime is perhaps the most suspenseful part of the game, with so of the most memorable hockey games going late into the night until one player becomes a hero and breaks the deadlock.
To better get you into the hockey playoff spirit on this the opening night, here are 10 YouTube video from the the NHL playoffs in the past decade. In no particular order, here are some of the many memorable moments, stellar goals, and exciting calls to get you geared up for puck drop.
1. In the second round of the 2008 playoffs, Brendan Morrow scored in quadruple overtime to send the Dallas Stars to a 4-2 series win over the San Jose Sharks in the second most memorable sudden death goal in the club’s history (see Brett Hull, or not if you are a Sabres fan).
2. With literally seconds left in Game Seven of the finals, Marc-Andre Fleury makes an incredible save on all-star Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings to earn the Penguins a 2-1 victory and the Stanley Cup.
3. Highlights from Game One of the Buffalo Sabres versus Ottawa Senators in 2006. This stands as one of the highest scoring and back-and-forth games in recent memory, with numerous lead changes, emotional swings, and three goals in the last minute. The quality may not be the best, but the energy of play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret is most compelling, and tells the whole story. Skip to ther 2:30 mark for the real drama.
4. The two greatest players currently in the game, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, both notched hat tricks in the same playoff game in 2009.
5. A selection of hockey videos wouldn’t be complete without a great check.
6.Last year the top seeded Washington Capitals ran into a hot goaltender in Jaroslav Halak of the Montreal Canadiens. The eighth-seeded habs upset the Capitals in the first round thanks to their netminders. In one memorable game, Halak made 53 saves en route to victory.
7. Joffrey Lupul scores the overtime goal in Game Seven against the Washington Capitals as the Flyers win in the first round in 2008.
8. More proof that the opening round of the NHL playoffs is just as exciting as any other, the Vancouver Canucks win game one of the first round in 2007 in four overtimes. Brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin team up to send the home fans into a frenzy.
9. Another exciting overtime goal last year, a reward to east coasters who stay up late to watch the games out west.
10. Lastly, the most recent playoff goal scored, that off the stick of Patrick Kane to win the Stanley Cup for the Chicago Blackhawks last year, albeit in surprising and somewhat undramatic fashion.