When you make a list, you have to expect a fair bit of push back from people, because it’s just one person’s opinion. And I certainly expect Avalanche fans to have an opinion on this matter.
It’s August, so it’s the perfect time to take a look back with the Colorado Avalanche. Since the franchise moved to Colorado in 1995, there have been Three Stanley Cup championships, 12 Division titles, and a lot of goals.
A LOT of goals, so picking the top five is no walk in the park.
Narrowing the list down to just five goals was incredibly difficult, but I’ve done it. Or at least, I think I have. I tried to take a little bit of everything into account. It can’t be all about the skill, or when the goal happened, but more of a mix of everything.
After you read my list, I want to know what goals are on your shortlist, or where I screwed up. I can take the heat.
Without further ado, let’s get to the list.
Okay, I’m allowed one honorable mention. It’s my list after all, and “Top 6” didn’t sound as cool.
I had to reserve it for Valeri Kamensky‘s spinning goal against the Florida Panthers. Obviously, I’ve made it clear that Kamensky was my favorite player growing up, so there’s a fair bit of bias here, but it was just a perfect display of how much skill he had. It also shows just how chill he was, because he reacts like it was just some normal goal.
5. Helm Sends Avalanche To Conference Finals
Darren Helm‘s time with the Avalanche may have been short, but he earned a place in fans hearts with his play during the Cup run in 2022. And this goal, in my opinion, was the biggest one of that entire run.
Granted, this goal probably shouldn’t have happened. If the Avalanche had just held on in Game Five after Nathan MacKinnon‘s coast-to-coast goal, they could have saved themselves the stress, but fighting through the adversity showed everyone that team was built different. This was actually Helm’s first goal of the playoffs, but far and away his biggest. After they won this game, there was no way any other team was stopping them.
Special shout out to Erik Johnson for realizing the time left on the clock and trying to make something happen late.
4. Tic-Tac Toe Against Minnesota
This game was electric. After a crazy Game One overtime win, the building was out of control, and the Avalanche gave them plenty of reason to get rowdy.
It’s the same game where MacKinnon made Jared Spurgeon trip over his own ankles, but I’ve always preferred this goal. It’s got a little bit of everything. Barrie hits MacKinnon, who tips the puck through his legs to make sure it’s not taken away from him, and then from there, it’s just a couple of quick, beautiful passes. The beneficiary of those passes is Gabriel Landeskog, who rips the puck past Bryzgolov.
Unfortunately, the rest of the series didn’t really go as planned, but this was a fun game, and a beautiful goal.
3. Forsberg Sends A Bomb To Blake
This goal is just incredible.
First, it almost looks like a set play with the way Blake bursts up the ice. The reality is that it was just two extremely skilled players reading off each other the way only elite players can.
Forsberg’s brilliance allows him to realize he can’t get a direct pass right to Blake, and on the spot, he improvises the loft pass. As soon as that puck hits the air, you can see Blake realize what’s happening, and book it. Hannan, who was a very good defensive defenseman at the time, has no idea what’s going on, and gets beat easily.
The finish by Blake can’t be overlooked. He’s coming in with so much speed that Nabokov has to quickly back up into his crease, opening more net. Blake’s release is so quick that Nabokov never had a chance.
Two elite players making an elite goal happen.
2. Forsberg Carries Larionov Like A Backpack
To be completely honest, this list could have been all Peter Forsberg goals. He was obviously more of a playmaker, but when he scored, they were usually gorgeous goals.
The reason I chose this goal is because everything that made Forsberg so dominant was on display. He makes the defensive read to take the puck away, and at that point, uses his speed to get past Larionov. When the Red Wings forward decides he wants to ride Forsberg like a backpack, we see the Swedish star’s power on display.
It all ends with the pure skill and ability of Forsberg, as he dekes Osgood out of his pants, even with the opposition draped all over him. And oh yeah, the fearlessness was there as well. He could have taken his head off on the goal posts, but he didn’t care, as long as he scored.
What a player.
1 – “Fakes it, Takes it, Scores!”
Color me surprised to see this way down the list in a YouTube ranking that I found. For me, this goal is #1, and it’s not even close.
On the previous goal, you saw everything you love about Forsberg on display. For this one, it’s the same for Joe Sakic.
It’s Game 7, this biggest game of the year, and one of the biggest games in Avalanche history, and he’s just calm, cool, and collected. He gathers the puck along the boards on his backhand, with pressure around him, like it’s no big deal.
I love the fake slap shot. I highly doubt the had any intention of taking a slapper here, but he needed to fake it to set up the wrist shot. That’s hockey IQ. And then from there, it’s the best wrist shot in NHL history, right through Scott Stevens legs, and over Martin Brodeur’s glove. It’s such a quick release and shot that Brodeur has no idea it’s even gone past him.
When Sakic scored this goal, the game was over. New Jersey was not coming back, and the Avalanche were well on their way to their 2nd Stanley Cup championship.
Well, that’s my list. What’s yours? What did I miss, and what would you take out? I want to hear it in the comments section.