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Greatest Moments

Greatest Moments of NHL Season … So Far: second round, matchup 14

Hurricanes' emergency goalie Ayres' win takes on Zibanejad's five-goal game for Rangers @NHLdotcom

Greatest Moments: Matchup 46

EBUG Ayres gets win vs. Zibanejad scores 5 goals

Vote between emergency goalie David Ayres gets a win against Toronto and Mika Zibanejad scores five goals in the Greatest NHL Moments..So Far

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The 2019-20 NHL season had many incredible moments before it paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and now fans can decide which one was the best.

The Greatest Moments of the NHL Season ... So Far is down to 32 entries from the original bracket of 64 with the first round now complete. Fans will vote on one matchup per day, ultimately deciding the greatest moment up until this point.

Fans can vote on Twitter and Instagram each day from noon until 10 a.m. ET the next day. Each day, the winner of that matchup will be revealed, and a new set of moments will go head-to-head.

Though fans will have the ultimate say, two staffers will weigh in on each day's matchup to give his or her opinion on which one should advance to the third round. 

In the matchup Thursday, Detroit Red Wings fans helping sing the Canadian national anthem defeated Ryan Strome's mom reading the lineup for the New York Rangers. 

The matchup Friday has David Ayres' eight-save win as the emergency backup goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes  against the Toronto Maple Leafs taking on center Mika Zibanejad's five-goal game for the New York Rangers. 


Tom Gulitti, staff writer

It takes something special to outshine Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th NHL goal as the story of the day. What Ayres and the Hurricanes did in a 6-3 victory against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Feb. 22 qualified. I was on the train on the way back from covering Ovechkin scoring his 700th at the New Jersey Devils when I saw on Twitter that Hurricanes goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek each was injured, and Ayres, a 42-year-old former ice resurfacing machine driver and kidney transplant recipient, had to come in as the emergency backup goalie. I watched the rest of the drama unfold on NHL.TV on my iPhone. Ayres, who sometimes practices with Toronto, entered with Carolina leading 3-1 with 8:41 remaining in the second period. The Hurricanes extended their lead to 4-1 before the Maple Leafs scored on their first two shots against Ayres to pull within 4-3. After that, Carolina rallied around Ayres and limited Toronto's scoring chances by controlling the puck. Ayres made the save on the final eight shots he faced to become the oldest goalie to win his NHL debut and the first EBUG to win an NHL game.

Video: CAR@TOR: Ayres makes history as emergency backup


John Kreiser, managing editor

Kudos to Ayres for a night he'll never forget. But his teammates did most of the heavy lifting on that night in Toronto, whereas Zibanejad carried the Rangers on his back in their 6-5 overtime victory against the Capitals at Madison Square Garden on March 5. He became the third player in Rangers history to score five goals in a game, the seventh to do so in the NHL since 1994-95,and joined Sergei Fedorov of the Detroit Red Wings (Dec. 26, 1996, also against Washington) as the only players to cap a five-goal performance by scoring in overtime. Zibanejad scored once in the first period, once in the second and twice in the third before beating goalie Ilya Samsonov on a breakaway 33 seconds into OT. It was the best offensive performance in the NHL this season and came on a night when the Rangers desperately needed a win to keep alive their hopes of a late-season run to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: WSH@NYR: Zibanejad scores five goals, OT winner

Tweet from @NHL: The @DetroitRedWings fans advance! ������Can @MikaZibanejad's five-goal night take down David Ayres' unbelievable EBUG appearance? VOTE ������

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