DETROIT – It’s an All-Pavel final.
While voting is open until next Thursday, Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk has already been chosen as the winner of the 2013 TSN Play of the Year Showdown.
The only thing left to decide is for which goal? That’s because the Wings’ superstar is going up against himself in the final round of fan balloting, which is currently underway on TSN.ca.
The two highlight reel goals – from Feb. 10 vs. Los Angeles and Feb. 19 at Nashville – were definitely a couple of the most spectacular plays from the lockout-shortened season.
The Russian’s coast-to-coast goal came late in the third period of the Red Wings’ overtime loss to the Predators. While it tied the game, it was the path that Datsyuk took that mesmerized fans as he dipped and doodled through and around five Nashville skaters before popping a shot off of goalie Pekka Rinne.
Fans on TSN.ca felt that Datsyuk’s Nashville gem was better than plays by New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner (52.49%-47.51%); Florida center Shawn Matthias (51.87%-48.13%); Edmonton left wing Magnus Paajarvi (51.55%-48.45%); and Buffalo center Cody Hodgson (75.73%-24.27%).
Nine days before he dazzled in Nashville, Datsyuk showed his toughness and determination against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Early in the game he absorbed a vicious body check by Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. However, Datsyuk got the last laugh when on the next shift. He skated into the offensive zone at top speed, took a cross-ice pass from Henrik Zetterberg, cut to the middle, splitting the defense of Slava Voynov and Rob Scuderi, and fired a shot top shelf over Jonathan Quick’s glove hand.
That bit of trickery, accounting to the fan vote, was better than plays by Boston forward Nathan Horton (68.74%-31.26%); Edmonton right wing Ales Hemsky (50.18%-49.82%); Washington forward Eric Fehr (50.17%-49.83); and St. Louis goalie Jake Allen (50.5%-49.5%).
Datsyuk, Matthias, and Chicago forward Patrick Kane were represented twice in this year’s bracket. Zetterberg and goalie Jimmy Howard were also on the Internet ballot, though both Red Wings didn’t survive the first round, losing to Matthias and Allen, respectively.
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