NHL fans get to witness a flurry of amazing, incredible, exciting, and jaw-dropping goals every single night during the season, but the best hockey goals of all-time come once in a blue moon. They’re the ones worth talking about years, even decades from the moment they first happen.
NHL goals come in all different shapes, forms, and styles. Some of them come at the right moment – whether it be a clutch moment or a milestone moment – while others are so unique and creative that they’re heard all around the world. Sometimes, we witness the impossible.
The best hockey goals are the impossible, the implausible, and the unthinkable. They get you out of your seat. They drop those jaws to the floor and they light a spark in everyone that just bore witness – including fans, teammates, coaches, announcers, front office, and analysts.
What Are the Best Hockey Goals of All-Time?
Every once in a while, we get to feast our eyes on one of the best hockey goals of all-time. They can come from superstars in the league or from those you would never expect – either way, you’ll be left licking your lips when you see the replay, especially when that slow-mo replay hits.
Things are even better today with all the different cameras, angles, technology, and more that goes into a highlight reel. We get to see goals in ways fans never got to see them before and it’s something we should learn to appreciate. It wasn’t always that way, but we’re the spoiled ones!
With over 100 years of NHL history, there are simply too many goals that we could consider as some of the best hockey goals of all-time. With that said, we’re going to pick 20 of our favorite hockey goals that we believe are near the top – now let’s see if you agree with our judgment!
20. Vladimir Tarasenko With ‘The Forsberg’
Vladimir Tarasenko was the 16th overall draft pick by the St. Louis Blues in 2010 and has been with the team ever since. He has 252 goals and 272 assists (524 points) over the past 10 seasons (606 games). He also has 40 goals and 17 assists in 84 playoff games with the Blues.
Tarasenko scored this goal on November 3, 2014 against the New York Rangers. His team was down 1-0 in the second period, but he knotted the game up at 1-1. The game went into overtime at 3-3 and the Blues won in a shootout. Tarasenko executed ‘The Forsberg’ play perfectly.
19. Markus Naslund Scores Despite the Trip
Markus Naslund was the 16th overall draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and spent 15 seasons in the NHL. He had 395 goals and 474 assists in 1,117 regular season games, adding 14 goals and 22 assists in 52 playoff games. He won the Ted Lindsay Award in 2002-03.
Naslund scored this goal on October 14, 1995 against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. His team was up 2-1 in the third period and his goal gave them a two-goal lead. It was quite the incredible display of hand-eye coordination and definitely something you don’t see everyday in the NHL.
18. Steve Yzerman Fakes Everyone Out
Steve Yzerman was the fourth overall draft pick by the Detroit Red Wings in 1983 and spent his entire 22-year career in the NHL with the team. He had 692 goals and 1,063 assists in 1,514 regular season games, adding 70 goals and 115 assists in 196 playoff games over his career.
Yzerman scored this goal on November 12, 1988 against the Philadelphia Flyers. He already had two goals in the first period and his team was up 4-2 heading into the second period. Just three minutes into the second period, Yzerman scored this absolute beauty of a hat trick.
17. Stephane Richer Embarrasses the Nordiques
Stephane Richer was a second round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1984 and spent 17 years in the NHL – mostly with the Canadiens and Devils. He had 421 goals and 398 assists in 1,054 regular season games, as well as 53 goals and 45 assists in 134 playoff games.
Richer scored this goal against the Quebec Nordiques during his stint with the Devils – which spanned from 1991 to 1996. He faced a lot of resistance with the puck and was seen changing direction several times before finding a hole towards the net. He took that hole and scored
16. Jordan Eberle Disregards His Teammate
Jordan Eberle was the 22nd overall draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 2008 and he made his NHL debut during the 2010-11 season. He just finished his 12th season in the NHL and has 262 goals and 333 assists in the regular season, as well as 13 goals and 23 assists in the playoffs.
Eberle scored his first NHL goal on October 7, 2010 against the Calgary Flames during his rookie campaign – shown in the video above. The Oilers had numbers on the fast break and instead of passing to his teammate, Eberle dragged the puck around the defense and scored.
15. Maxim Afinogenov Rolls the Highlight Film
Maxim Afinogenov was a third round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1997 and spent 10 seasons in the NHL – nine with Buffalo and one with the Atlanta Thrashers. He had 158 goals and 237 assists in the regular season, as well as 10 goals and 13 assists in the playoffs.
Afinogenov scored this goal on November 22, 2003 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sabres were down 2-0 early in the third period when Afinogenov showed off his hand-eye coordination with this nifty goal. The Sabres lost, but it was one of Rick Jeanneret’s best calls.
14. Jonathan Toews With the Sick Nasty
Jonathan Toews was the third overall draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2006 and just finished his 14th season in the NHL – all with Chicago. He has 357 goals and 495 assists in 1,014 regular season games, as well as 45 goals and 74 assists in 137 playoff games.
Toews scored this goal on October 19, 2007 against the Colorado Avalanche – he was still a rookie at the time. The game was tied early in the first period, but Toews didn’t waste any time putting this one. Later in the period, another Chicago rookie – Patrick Kane – scored as well.
13. Double Trouble for the Title
Speaking of the Chicago Blackhawks, it was Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins that this amazing moment happened. It wasn’t just one goal, but two goals in a matter of 17 seconds that catapulted Chicago to their fifth Stanley Cup win in franchise history.
What made this moment so special was that it was a close-out game with the team up 3-2 in the series. The Blackhawks were down 2-1 with just over one minute left in the game. That’s when Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored within 17 seconds of each other to win the title.
12. Pavel Bure Plays a Little Soccer
Pavel Bure was a sixth round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 1989 and he spent 12 seasons in the NHL – with the Canucks, Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers. He had 437 goals and 342 assists in the regular season, as well as 35 goals and 35 assists in the playoffs.
Bure scored this goal on September 25, 1996 during a preseason game against the Boston Bruins. He had missed most of the previous season due to an ACL tear, but made his return in a major way. He was cruising on a breakaway when he passed the puck to himself off his skate.
11. Wayne Gretzky Sets an NHL Record
Wayne Gretzky spent 20 seasons in the NHL – mostly with the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Rangers. He finished his career with 894 goals and 1,963 assists in 1,487 regular season games, as well as another 122 goals and 260 assists in 208 playoff games.
Gretzky is the greatest hockey player to ever step foot on ice. His 894 goals is the most by any player all-time with Alex Ovechkin the closest active player at 781 goals. On March 23, 1994, Gretzky broke the record for most goals all-time, surpassing Gordie Howe and his 801 goals.
10. Mario Lemieux Blows By Everyone
Mario Lemieux was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1984 and spent his entire 17-year career in the NHL with the team. He retired in 2006 with 690 goals and 1,033 assists in 915 regular season games, as well as 76 goals and 96 assists in 107 playoff games.
Lemieux scored this goal on May 17, 1991 against the Minnesota North Stars in Game 2 of the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals. Minnesota had a 1-0 series lead, but Lemieux’s goal gave them a 3-1 lead in the game – which they eventually won 4-1. The Penguins won the title in six games.
9. Valeri Kamensky Does the Spin-o-rama
Valeri Kamensky was a seventh round draft pick by the Quebec Nordiques in 1988 and spent 11 seasons in the NHL – mostly with the Quebecs and Avalanche. He had 200 goals and 301 assists in 637 regular season games, as well as 25 goals and 35 assists in 66 playoff games.
Kamensky scored this goal on January 20, 1997 against the Florida Panthers. The game was tied 2-2 heading into the third period, but Kamensky scored two goals in the final eight minutes of play to give the Avalanche a win – one of those goals being this incredible spin-o-rama finish.
8. Trevor Zegras Flip Pass to Sonny Milano
Sonny Milano was the 16th overall draft pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014 and just finished his seventh season in the NHL. He has accumulated 36 goals and 45 assists in 197 regular season games and is coming off his best season with a career-high 34 points in 2021.
And what a season it was. During a game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 7, 2021, Trevor Zegras had the puck behind the net with the game knotted up at 0-0 in the second period. That’s when he flipped the puck over the net to Sonny Milano, who scored the goal.
7. Trevor Zegras With the Lacrosse Goal
Trevor Zegras was the ninth overall draft pick by the Anaheim Ducks in 2019 and just finished his second season in the NHL. Despite only playing in 99 games so far, he already has 26 goals and 48 assists in the regular season – including 23 goals and 38 assists this past season.
It was an incredible year that included two lacrosse-style goals within months of each other – as well as the amazing flip-pass to Sonny Milano. The first lacrosse goal came against the Canadiens in late-January, but then there was this filthy one against the Coyotes in early April.
6. Denis Savard Does It Himself
Denis Savard was the third overall draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1980 and spent 17 seasons in the NHL – 13 of which with the Blackhawks. He retired in 1997 with 473 goals and 865 assists in 1,196 regular season games, as well as 66 goals and 109 assists in the playoffs.
Savard scored this incredible goal on February 24, 1988 against the Edmonton Oilers. The game was tied 3-3 with the second period winding down – that’s when Savard decided to break the tie with just 40 seconds left in the period. Oh, the Blackhawks were shorthanded at the time.
5. Bobby Orr’s Legendary Flying Goal
Bobby Orr spent just 12 seasons in the NHL – 10 with the Boston Bruins and two with the Chicago Blackhawks – but he’s remembered as one of the all-time greats. He had 270 goals and 684 assists in the regular season and another 26 goals and 66 assists in the playoffs.
One of those playoff goals came against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins had a 3-0 series lead, but the game was tied in overtime. Just 40 seconds into the overtime period, Orr scored one of the best goals of all-time as he flew through the air.
4. Is This Hockey or Lacrosse? Either Way, I Like It!
We saw Trevor Zegras score two lacrosse goals in the same season this past year, but Andrei Svechnikov did it first during the 2019-20 season – once against the Flames and again vs. the Jets. In fact, Filip Forsberg had one of his own in that same season – three in one year, wow!
Svechnikov was the second overall draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2018 and already has 89 goals and 120 assists in 283 regular season games. Forsberg was the 11th overall draft pick by the Washington Capitals in 2012 and has 220 goals and 249 assists in 566 games.
3. Rick Nash Goes Nuclear Through the Defense
Rick Nash was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002 and spent 15 seasons in the NHL – mostly with the Blue Jackets and New York Rangers. He had 437 goals and 368 assists in the regular season, as well as 18 goals and 28 assists in the playoffs.
Nash scored this goal on January 17, 2008 against the Phoenix Coyotes. He already had a goal and an assist in the second period, but the game was tied 3-3 late in the third period. Nash scored this game-winning goal with just 22 seconds left in regulation – talk about being clutch!
2. ‘The Goal’ by Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Washington Capitals and has spent the past 17 seasons with the team. He’s consistently one of the best players in the league. He has 780 goals and 630 assists in the regular season, and 72 goals and 69 assists in the playoffs.
Ovechkin scored this legendary goal on January 16, 2006 against the Phoenix Coyotes – almost exactly two years after Nash’s goal against the same team. Halfway through the third period, Ovechkin scored his second of the game and lifted the Caps to a 6-1 win over Phoenix.
1. ‘The Michigan Goal’ That Started It All
Mike Legg was an 11th round draft pick by the New Jersey Devils in 1993 and decided to take his talents to Michigan University. While he never played a game in the NHL, he enjoyed four great years of college hockey – including scoring one of the best hockey goals of all-time.
Just seven minutes into the second period, Legg scored the first known lacrosse-style goal against Minnesota in the NCAA West Regional Final, prompting many to call the goal a ‘Michigan’ from that point forward. The goal tied the game at 2-2 and Michigan later won 4-3.
Do You Agree With the Best Hockey Goals Ever?
I’m sure there are a lot of amazing hockey goals that aren’t on this list that you feel deserve to be. If so, we would love to hear your thoughts and which goals you think are the best hockey goals of all-time. We all have our own opinion and that’s something we’ve learned to love.
The good news is those amazing, exciting, and jaw-dropping goals aren’t going anywhere. Better yet, we’re witnessing new ones every single season and will continue to for as long as hockey exists – which is forever. So we hope you aren’t getting sick and tired of them yet.
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You also have to like what we’re seeing in the new generation of players. They’re more flashy, creative, nifty, and unique than ever before. They aren’t going to back down from the moment and aren’t afraid to try things in a game that older generations would only try in practice.
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