The National Hockey League is comprised of some of the greatest hockey players in the world. Night after night these talented men hit the ice and bring stadiums full of fans to their feet. Throughout the year we have seen jaw-dropping goals, bone-crushing hits, heart-pounding scraps, and precision passing plays. In this article, I bring you the top 5 plays of the week.
Jaroslav Halak desperation save 2/24/13
Jaroslav Halak has proven himself to be a legitimate starting goaltender in the NHL, putting forth an outstanding effort every night he takes the ice for St. Louis. Halak has excellent technique, but there are times in a hockey game where all technique is thrown out the window and instinct alone is the difference between a highlight reel save or a highlight reel goal. In this case, Halak came up huge and kept the puck out of the net. As he was falling backwards, Halak saw a chip-shot slowly falling into his crease. Refusing to be beaten, Halak flashed his glove from behind him and batted the puck out of mid-air. Although not a “save of the year” contender, it was an impressive move and one that deserves some credit.
Welcome to the league, rookie. I like to imagine that’s what Niskanen said to Huberdeaus after absolutely trucking him with this open ice hit. While certainly rattling, this hit was completely legal, which makes it that much better. Any true hockey fan loves to see a good hit, and this was a fine piece of work. Keep your head up there, Huberdeau, we’d like to see some more highlight reel goals from you.
Ryan Miller is one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL despite playing with a shaky Buffalo team in front of him in recent years. This play proves just how talented of a goaltender he really is. Standing strong in his crease, Miller refuses to bite the fake, moves from post to post and gets his glove on a quick shot from Toronto forward James van Riemsdyk. While he made it look easy, it takes a mix of hockey intelligence and great form to pull this move off, and he does it to keep his team in the game.
Marian Hossa Goal vs. Vancouver 2/19/13
Entering this season, many fans questioned whether Marian Hossa would return to his dominant form after being rocked by Rafi Torres in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. To put it simply, he has. Among many of his impressive goals thus far, this one against Vancouver is a thing of beauty. He dominates down low, skates his way through a few Canucks and slots it to put the Hawks up 3-1.
Pavel Datsyuk goal vs Nashiville Predators 2/19/13
Hockey is a sport commonly associated with strong team play and the mentality that a group effort will lead you to victory. When that fails, however, it’s nice to have Pavel Dastyuk on your team. In true Datsyukian form, Pavel undressed not one, not two, not three, but all five Nashville skaters and all-star goalie Pekka Rinne. As if the performance itself wasn’t enough, this goal tied the game for Detroit late in the third period.