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Top moments of 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs discussed by NHL.com writers

NHL Network to unveil its list on 'Top Shelf' countdown

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs had their share of incredible moments. From the Whiteout in Winnipeg to Alex Ovechkin finally hoisting the Stanley Cup, there were countless memories made in the postseason.

NHL Network will look at many of them on "Top Shelf: Plays of the 2017-18 Playoffs," which premieres Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Video: Recapping the best plays of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Before NHL Network unveils its list, NHL.com staff writers take a look back at their favorite moments of the playoffs:

 

Tim Campbell, staff writer

For a city that hadn't seen its NHL team win a playoff game since 1996 or series since 1987, Winnipeg experienced a new level of buzz in the 2018 postseason.

There were many firsts and highlights during the Winnipeg Jets' journey to the Western Conference Final, when they lost in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights, but the sequence that embodied the energy and the passion was wrapped up in a short span of Game 3 of the second round against the Nashville Predators on May 1.

The series, a battle between the top two teams in the NHL during the regular season, was tied 1-1 after a split in Nashville, and the Predators were ahead 3-0 after the first period of Game 3.

Bell MTS Place came alive when the Jets scored three goals in 2:51 early in the second period to tie the game, and the noise was simply oppressive, I believe peaking at a higher level than any previous time since the arena opened in 2004.

The goals by Paul Stastny at 2:38, Dustin Byfuglien at 5:11 and Jacob Trouba at 5:29 boosted the confidence of the Jets, who were the lower-seeded team for the series. They went on to win 7-4 in Game 3 and the series in seven games.

Video: NSH@WPG, Gm3: Jets score three quick goals to tie it

 

Tom Gulitti, staff writer

There were plenty of memorable moments during the Washington Capitals' run to their first Stanley Cup championship, but I'll pick one from immediately after their 4-3 Cup-clinching win against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Final. While hugging early in the celebration, Ovechkin informed Nicklas Backstrom that he'd hand the Cup off to him first.

It was fitting considering the two had been through so much together during their 11 seasons as teammates, having to wait until this season to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs. Backstrom has assisted on 230 of Ovechkin's 607 regular-season goals and 22 of his 61 postseason goals, including a power-play goal in Game 5.

So after Ovechkin took the first solo skate with the Cup, he yelled to Backstrom and handed it over to him. Backstrom took a few strides with the Cup over his head while Ovechkin skated alongside before Backstrom suggested they carry it together. Ovechkin grabbed the bowl end of the Cup and Backstrom held up the base while they skated toward the rest of the team.

Video: Capitals, Golden Knights mic'd up for decisive Game 5

 

Tracey Myers, staff writer

Predators forward Filip Forsberg doesn't get as much national attention as some of the other elite players in the NHL. But considering some of his dazzling moves in the playoffs, maybe he should.

Forsberg scored one of the prettiest goals of the postseason against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round on April 12. With the Predators leading the Avalanche by a goal, Forsberg came through the neutral zone, passed the puck through his legs, got around Colorado defenseman Sam Girard, and scored to give Nashville a 4-2 lead at 12:10 of the third period.

Forsberg would have another highlight-reel goal or two in the postseason but that one stands as his most memorable.

Video: COL@NSH, Gm1: Forsberg scores on unbelievable move

 

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

My top playoff moment had nothing to do with a goal or a save.

It was all about a song.

I was born in Toronto, still live in Toronto and love Toronto.

On April 23, 2018, I was as proud of my city and its people as I've ever been.

About six hours before the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs were to face off for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Air Canada Centre, a man driving a van veered onto a crowded sidewalk and plowed into pedestrians about 12 miles north of the arena. Ten people were killed.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan asked himself if it would be wrong to play the game, given the tragedy.

"You know what? It would have been more wrong not to play it," he said.

Outside of the arena, thousands of fans gathered in Maple Leaf Square to watch on the big screen. Inside, I've never heard a crowd sing a more heartfelt version of "O Canada."

It gave me tingles.

On that night, hockey was a rallying point, a reason for a city not to give into fear.

A night I'll never forget.

Video: BOS@TOR, Gm6: Toronto holds moment of silence

 

Dave Stubbs, columnist

My moment was on the ice at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on June 7, Capitals players, coaches, management, families and friends celebrating Washington's first Stanley Cup championship.

I got to know Capitals center Lars Eller and his wife, Julie, during the couple's time in Montreal from 2011-16; I always enjoyed Lars' insight into the game, and in 2015, I wrote about Julie's participation in a "Dancing with the Stars" contest, her 100-second routine part of a fundraiser for the Just for Kids Foundation of the Montreal Children's Hospital.

Now Eller was on T-Mobile Arena ice, having played the series of his life and having just scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal, trying to put it all into perspective for reporters while his parents, brother and wife stood beaming nearby.

His interviews finally done, Lars skated to his family, and then he scooped Julie up in his arms, lifting her off the ice in a move worthy of the dance floor, and hugged her for probably 30 seconds, long enough for me to take a few photos. If the couple spoke a word, I didn't hear it. But the moment was magical, and I was delighted for them both as they somehow found a quiet moment alone on a crowded, happy, noisy rink.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Eller on scoring the Cup-winning goal

 

Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Sometimes you're just in the right place at the right time. It was during the celebrations following the Capitals' Stanley Cup-clinching victory, and Ovechkin had left the ice for the Conn Smythe Trophy winner's press conference. Once Ovechkin finished, time was ticking down to my deadline, but I slipped back on the ice to see if I could find Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, who had spoken so eloquently and emotionally about having his father, Tim, on hand to see him win the Cup.

Tim, in his mid-50s, has Alzheimer's disease and has trouble traveling and remembering things these days, but T.J. said he believed that this was a moment his father would never forget. I found T.J. and his family, including his two young daughters, just in time to see them gathering around the Cup for photos.

And then it happened.

T.J. and Tim gripped the sides of the Cup simultaneously and, together, they lifted it. The smiles lit up T-Mobile Arena. It was a beautiful moment between a father and son, a hockey moment and a universal moment all in one.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Oshie on realizing dream of winning Cup

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