The 2019-20 NHL season had many incredible moments before it was paused 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 16 entries from the original bracket of 64 with the second 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 NHL.com staffers will weigh in on the matchup each day to give his or her opinion on which one should advance to the fourth round.
In the matchup Thursday, Filip Forsberg's lacrosse-style goal for the Nashville Predators defeated Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights moving to fifth place on the NHL wins list.
The matchup Friday pits Columbus Blue Jackets rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins' three shutouts in four games from Jan. 11-18 against the lacrosse-style goal scored by Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 29.
John Kreiser, managing editor
Svechnikov's first of two lacrosse-style goals will live on for decades in highlight videos. But the 20-year-old was a 20-goal scorer as a rookie last season after being taken No. 2 in the 2018 NHL Draft, so he was already an up-and-coming offensive force. Merzlikins, on the other hand, was a 25-year-old rookie from Latvia who came out of nowhere and played well enough to help the Blue Jackets get back into the Stanley Cup Playoff race after goalie Joonas Korpisalo injured his knee Dec. 29. Merzlikins had helped the Blue Jackets sweep their three-game California swing when he went into T-Mobile Arena and made 27 saves in a 3-0 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 11. The Blue Jackets were home three nights later and got a 34-save performance from Merzlikins in a 3-0 victory against the Boston Bruins. After a 3-2 home win against the Hurricanes on Jan. 16, Merzlikins had perhaps his best game of the season two days later against the New Jersey Devils; he made 21 saves in the first period and finished with 41 in a 5-0 victory. Three shutouts in four games, including two against teams that were in first place when the season was paused, are a sensational achievement by any goalie, let alone one who had never played an NHL game before this season.
Video: BOS@CBJ: Merzlikins collects second shutout of season
David Satriano, staff writer
John makes a good point that Svechnikov scored 20 goals as a rookie in 2018-19, but how many of those goals were as memorable as this one? It's one thing to do that in practice, which Svechnikov has done numerous times, but another to do it in a game when the stakes are high. The forward went behind the net, got the puck on his stick, and tucked it past Flames goalie David Rittich to tie the game 1-1 in the third period of an eventual 2-1 Hurricanes win at PNC Arena. "It was just a matter of time before it was going to happen," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Obviously it was a huge moment when we needed it." Svechnikov had made no secret about his desire to pull off the move in a game, and when he did so, it instantly became one of the best moments of the season. "He was trying to teach me, and I had no chance," Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. "You need time and space, and it was the perfect opportunity for him. It was awesome."
Video: CGY@CAR: Svechnikov scores lacrosse-style goal