One of my favorite playoff hockey moments came back in 2003 during the Stanley Cup Finals. Here’s the short version in case you need a reminder:
I think one of the things I love about that sequence is that both the hit and goal came as a complete surprise to me. It was incredible enough that Kariya was even playing at that point, let alone he rips that shot in to set the crowd on fire. The extended version of the video really does a good job of telling the story.
Last night we had another moment similar to Stevens/Kariya. It certainly wasn’t as dramatic or meaningful, but what Martin Havlat accomplished last night was pretty special.
Taking a sucker punch earlier in the game, he comes back to not only score the game-tying goal with just over five minutes left, but notches the overtime winner just seconds into overtime. For a player with huge expectations on a team so long removed from the postseason, getting that goal must have been something else.
The two situations aren’t all that similar given the scale of the Kariya/Stevens sequence, but just the reminder was enough to bring me back to that night of hockey. In a way, I think that’s what makes the playoffs so special. Once you experience something like that, even just on TV, you’re hooked.
It’s going to be a long playoff run, but already we’ve seen some moments well worth remembering.