Continuing on the whole “reflecting on the 2017-18 season before we get to see John Tavares with the Leafs”, let’s take a few minutes and admire some of the best goals that the Leafs scored last season. This was a difficult one, because the Leafs were pretty good at this whole scoring goals thing, especially pretty ones, but I think we have a solid list of good goals from the Buds.
All videos in this article come from Goal Leafs Goal.
10. Matthews Goal vs. Ottawa
Kicking off the list is a play from everyone’s favourite dynamic duo, Auston Matthews and William Nylander. The play starts with Nylander doing his thing, skating around with the puck, making the Senators look silly, and then suddenly, he makes a behind the back pass to Matthews, who lets go one of his signature releases and scores. Just a great display of the chemistry of these two.
9. Hyman Goal vs. Rangers
While this isn’t the first time Zach Hyman has scored a highlight reel goal against the Rangers, this one was a beauty in its own right. Hyman had a breakaway, missed, and then picked up the loose puck on the way out and then out-waited Henrik Lundqvist to bury had some flashbacks to the 2016-17 goal, but it was a great way for him to start the season.
8. Kapanen Goal vs. Nashville
Spoiler alert, this isn’t the only Kasperi Kapanen shorthanded goal on this list. Kappy showed some great speed and saw an opening for a scoring opportunity on the penalty kill, and went for it, making PK Subban look silly, holding off Craig Smith, and wiring past Pekka Rinne for a beautiful goal.
7. Gardiner Goal vs. Rangers
Another goal from the memorable high scoring game against the Rangers, this one may go down as the most casual end to end goal of all time. Jake Gardiner made it look easy by picking up the puck, skating it up the middle, and then sneaking right through the Rangers defense and beating Lundqvist. Sure, it was on the power play, but how many times do you see a goal like this, even on the power play.
6. Marner Goal vs. Columbus
Speaking of end to end goals, this one was a lot less casual. Mitch Marner goes flying down the ice, skating and deking through most of the Blue Jackets before wiring it past Joonas Korpisalo. The best part of this was it was part of Marner’s ignition, that saw him go on a tear for the rest of the season.
5. van Riemsdyk Goal vs. Ottawa
I see you there, JVR. Trying to sneak the puck between your legs before just burying it. To be fair, you got the shot off, and it created a scoring chance, and a goal, so I’ll give you credit for pulling off something that most people dream of in a hockey game.
4. Nylander Goal vs. Detroit
I did the write for this game, and described this goal as “the equivalent of stealing a basketball from a kid half your size and playing keep away with your buddy before jumping over the poor child and dunking on him”, and honestly, this goal still holds up to that standard.
Also, we still haven’t heard from the Red Wings of any official funeral plans for Nick Jensen’s ankles.
3. Marner Goal vs. Ottawa
I described this game in my top 10 games post as the turning point for the Leafs season, and this goal was one of the turning points of the game. Of course, there’s also the part about how this goal was a carbon copy of a goal in the NHL 18 trailer, where Marner also scores on Anderson, despite him claiming he’d never be out of position like that.
2. Kapanen Goal vs. Boston
It’s Kappy! The last goal of the Leafs season couldn’t have been a better one (almost). Kapanen uses his speed on the penalty kill again to hunt the puck down, make Brad Marchand look foolish, and then glide in, deke out Tuukka Rask, and just bury the goal while practically lying down at that point. Not only was this an amazing goal, this happened in game 7, and (at the time) was the go ahead goal, and Kappy came in clutch despite hitting quite a few posts in the series already.
1. Matthews Goal vs. Montreal
Yet another end to end goal (although this one he didn’t have the puck for half the time), this one saw Matthews bat the puck out of midair twice, deke a couple of Habs before wiring it past Price with his famous shot. Combine with the intensity of the game (Montreal had their 14 game win streak against the Leafs), and the absolute beauty of it, and it easily makes it the goal of the year for the Leafs.