Top Moments of the Last Decade
This past decade of the National Hockey League is arguably one of the most exciting we have seen in years, making the case that, league-wide, is bigger, faster, and stronger, than the eras before it. We have witness dynasties rise and fall, the battle (literally and figuratively) between two of the best players the league has ever seen in Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, and a few rule changes to make the game faster, and more exciting, than it’s ever been.
There were many memorable moments and/or events that have happened within the past decade, so we have chosen a few of our personal favorites and listed them below, in no order. Let’s take a look!
Auston Matthews 4-Goal NHL Debut
It’s always cool to watch a rookie come in and perform well in his NHL debut game. Performing “well” is an understatement when it comes to describing Auston Matthews debut. Drafted number one overall in the 2016 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Matthews quickly took the league by storm, scoring four goals in his first game, against the Ottowa Senators! With that, Matthews was the first number one overall pick since Alex Ovechkin to score two goals in his NHL debut, and just the third player to ever score three in his debut. Since the creation of the modern-era NHL, Auston Matthews remains the only player to score four goals in his NHL debut! Since then, Matthews has gone on to have a successful career with the Leafs thus far and remains one of the best snipers in the league. Check out Matthews’ debut highlights below:
Washington Capitals win Stanley Cup
In 2018, the Washington Capitals finally broke their lose-to-their-penguins-in-the-playoffs streak by beating them in the Eastern Conference Finals. Prior to 2018, the Capitals had only reached the Stanley Cup finals one time, in 1998. However, in 2018, the Capitals would go on to advance to the Stanley Cup finals where they would beat out the Vegas Golden Knights in six games! It came down to the wire, but the Capitals narrowly got the victory by a score of 4-3. We’re sure that most hockey fans around the world were excited to see Ovechkin finally win a cup and watching him hoist the cup was a powerful moment regardless of which team you root for. Check out the game highlight below:
St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup
Going into the 2018-2019 NHL season, the St. Louis Blues held the longest active streak without a Stanley Cup win since they entered the league 52 years prior. That streak officially ended June 12th, 2019 with a 4-1 game 7 victory over the Boston Bruins. But perhaps the most surprising statistic is that the Blues opened up the second half of the season (January) ranked dead last in the league standings. From here, the Blues completely turned things around and were up to seventh place in the league standings by March. And the rest goes down in history! Check out the game seven highlights below:
Blackhawks Dynasty (2010, 2013, 2015)
For decades, the Chicago Blackhawks held the record the longest cup drought in NHL history, being an Original 6 team. Fast forward to 2010, however, and their superstars Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews were just hitting the primes of their careers. That season, Kane, Toews, Duncan Keith, and so on would help lead their team to their first Stanley Cup win in 47 years! This trio would go on to lead the Blackhawks to another Stanley Cup win in 2013, and two years later in 2015, which officially cemented this Blackhawks team as a dynasty, and one of the best teams in the 2010’s.
Penguins Back-to-Back Stanley Cups
With guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang at the peak of their primes, it is no question that the Penguins team of the past decade was destined for something special. This core roster would go on two win back to back Stanley Cups, one in 2016 and the other in 2017, solidifying themselves as a true dynasty. Crosby and Malkin put the team on their backs, finishing in the top three on points in both of the playoff series’.
Vegas Golden Knights Inaugural Season
June 22, 2016. The day that the National Hockey League introduced the 31st franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. Prior to, and after, its creation the hype behind the new team was real! People were excited to see how this team of “misfits” would do in the upcoming season, but no one was expecting them to reach the playoffs, let alone the Stanley Cup finals. Fast-forward halfway into the season and some talking began going around the league that this team might be pretty legit. The Golden Knights shocked the hockey world by advancing to the Stanley Cup finals where they would eventually fall to the Washington Capitals. However, them advancing to the biggest stage in Hockey in their first season solidifies it as the best inaugural season in sports history.
Crosby’s Golden Goal
On February 28th, 2010, Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal against the United States in the 2010 Olympics. Nearly 10 years it still remains one of the most memorable plays of the decade, and surely one of the most important in Crosby’s illustrious career. This goal remains on many “top moments” lists across the internet, and rightfully so. Check out the full play below: