Welcome to Lighting the Lamp, a year-round NHL column. The best part of the Stanley Cup playoffs are the lamp lighters, and today we’re going to round up all the most exciting ones from Round 1.
We’ve almost closed out the first round of the 2017-18 Stanley Cup playoffs. Kind of hard to believe, right? How about this — it’s not even been a full two weeks, folks. And yet I can hardly remember a time before playoff hockey.
In the true spirit of the name of this column, today we’re going to look back at all the goals that have made us jump from our seats, spill our drinks and/or choke on our food so far this postseason. It’s a Special Edition™. Because that’s why they play the games, right?!
Best goals of Round 1
To start us off, who could forget this absolute beaut by the Nashville Predators Filip Forsberg in the very first game of their series against the Avalanche?
Perhaps my favorite part of the playoffs thus far has been when the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby has looked like the cleanup hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as he did in their very first game against the Flyers when he batted in this goal en route to a natural hat-trick:
In the second game of the Boston Bruins’ series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, David Pastrnak became a household name with his six points, including this delicious twirly goal off a bouncing puck:
Nikita Kucherov has been white-hot for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the quarterfinals, including this series-clincher against the New Jersey Devils from the blue line:
His team may have fallen, but Sean Couturier gave his all for the Flyers, including on this tricky, tricky goal in their final game against the Penguins on Sunday:
Speaking of Sunday, it was neither Sidney Crosby nor Evgeni Malkin who led the Penguins in scoring as they clinched their series over the Flyers, but left wing Jake Guentzel, who scored four goals overall in the game. This one, in particular, was an oh-so-satisfying one-timer off Patric Hornqvist.
Favorite non-goal moments of Round 1
Yes, the title of this column is Lighting the Lamp, and it is inherently about celebrating those magical moments when the puck finds the back of the net and the red light goes crazy.
But sometimes the best moments in hockey don’t actually put any points on the board.
Forever my favorite GIF from these playoffs is this one, of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask just gliding by with his hater-blockers on:
We also didn’t realize what we were missing without a Vegas team in the playoffs until we got a Vegas team in the playoffs:
Who could forget Washington Capitals Puck Girl? No one, because I won’t let you. Look at her adorable, sad face followed by her adorable, happy face after she finally gets her puck:
Finally, this column demurs all due respect to the Bruins, Maple Leafs, Capitals and Blue Jackets, who play tonight and any one of whom could contribute a goal that should have made it into this round-up.