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Off The Post: Ranking Memorable Goals from the First Month of the Season

Monday, 11.07.2011 / 6:15 PM / OFF THE POST - A Blog by Luke Lapinski
By Luke Lapinski
GLENDALE -- Thirteen games into the season, the Coyotes are averaging 2.92 goals per game – tied for third in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. What’s more, they’ve faced a string of hot goaltenders to start the year, yet they’ve routinely found the back of the net anyway. Of course, it’s still early, there’s plenty of hockey to be played and there will certainly be ups and downs. But we’re officially 15.8536 percent of the way through the regular season and that simply must be commemorated with some sort of countdown. So, I give you the top five Coyotes goals thus far. And just to be crazy, they’re in reverse order. Here goes...

Photo by Getty Images.
No. 6. Daymond Langkow vs. LA, Oct. 29: Yeah, I know. I said top five. But there are too many to choose from, so you’re getting six. Think of it as an early holiday gift. No. 6 comes courtesy of Langkow in overtime and gets bonus points because I still don’t know exactly how it found its way in the net. I was at the game, saw it in person, watched 79 different angles and even tried to figure out the path of the puck retroactively by studying the befuddled look on Jonathan Quick’s face afterward. I’m still not sure. All I know is Langkow made a nice play to get into position and did the one thing you’re always taught to do in overtime: put the puck on net. He had about an inch to work with and that’s all it took to knock off the impressive Kings.

►Click here to watch this goal.

No. 5. Boyd Gordon vs. Edmonton, Nov. 5: Taking on the upstart Oilers at home on Hockey Night in Canada, the Coyotes had controlled most of the game, but Edmonton was clearly making a push. With Phoenix up 2-0, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins cut the lead in half and gave Tom Renney’s group a burst of energy. Dave Tippett’s squad responded just two minutes later with some slick passing from Radim Vrbata to Ray Whitney to Gordon, who wasted no time pulling it to the backhand and flicking it past Devan Dubnyk for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Just for fun, it also snapped the Oilers’ six-game winning streak.

►Click here to watch this goal.

Lauri Korpikoski
No. 4. Lauri Korpikoski vs. Colorado, Nov. 2: In a game where the Desert Dogs were being outplayed at times, they entered the locker room up by a goal after two periods. But the Avs had momentum after scoring late in the second. All that changed with a big finish by the big Finnish forward just 24 seconds into the third. David Schlemko threw a long shot in on Semyon Varlamov then headed towards the bench. Korpikoski, meanwhile, decided to crash the net, throw a Colorado defender aside, then stick the rebound top shelf as he was falling to the ice. Pretty routine. In fact, that’s how I start every Tuesday.

►Click here to watch this goal.

No. 3. Radim Vrbata vs. LA, Oct. 29: Another one against the Kings, featuring one of the best passes I’ve ever seen Martin Hanzal make and Vrbata finishing it with a graceful, high-speed tip in. This was Vrbata’s second goal of the night and symbolized three things: 1) when he scores, he scores in bunches, 2) the Hanzal-Vrbata-Whitney line is playing remarkable hockey this season, and 3) there is clearly some little-known law on the books that says Vrbata is only allowed to score highlight reel goals. You can’t fight the system.

►Click here to watch this goal.

No. 2. Mikkel Boedker vs. Nashville, Oct. 13: Not sure what more you could ask from a goal. Boedker streaked in from the right side, got a touch pass from Hanzal in his skates and - in one motion - kicked it to his stick and flipped it past a dazed Pekka Rinne, sealing the Coyotes’ first win of the 2011-12 campaign. Later, Rinne would sign a $49 million deal – the only way to forget this goal happened. What’s more impressive? Boedker nearly outdid this effort twice against Nashville on Nov. 3 with two breakaway attempts but, this time, Rinne got the better of him. Mark my words: Boedker is going to score a goal one day that’s so nice, it’s going to cause a rift in the space-time continuum. I don’t even know what that means, but it should be interesting. Stay tuned.

►Click here to watch this goal.

Photo by Getty Images.
No 1. Shane Doan vs. Dallas, Oct. 25. Doan’s sliding one-timer against the Stars came in the third period, nearly proved to be the game winner, and became his 300th career NHL goal. If you’re going to reach a milestone, why not reach it in style? Honorable mention goes to Whitney for every goal he’s scored this season, Vrbata for his side-to-side tally against the Kings where he held the puck for about an hour and a half, drew Quick to the ice, then snapped it in to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead, and also to Langkow for his running backhander to start the scoring against the Oilers on Saturday night – a goal in which Mike Smith picked up an assist. (Note: whenever Smith finally scores a goal this year – and yes, I am holding my breath for that to happen – it immediately shoots to number one on this list.)

►Click here to watch this goal.
 
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