Few times of year are more exciting and action-packed as when the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs come around, and many of the most memorable, iconic, and important goals ever scored in hockey game during that time. It's also during times like these that future hall-of-famers cement their legacies. Wayne Gretzky didn't become the great one without scoring his fair share of memorable goals - in fact his last goal ever as an Edmonton Oiler was a Stanley Cup winner. Bobby Orr's soaring goal also won a Stanley Cup. So was Mark Messier's final goal of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. Great players score great goals - but what are the biggest hockey goals of all time?
This list isn't just limited to the NHL. Arguably the greatest moment in American sports history was a hockey goal, when Team USA defeated the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Travel to Canada and many of the Canadians' most storied moments don't involve the Canadians, they involve Team Canada.This list of memorable hockey goals represents the sport's most important and game-changing, not necessarily the most physically impressive. Sure, that goal by Alex Ovechkin on his back was insane, but it happened against the Phoenix Coyotes during a season in which neither they nor the Washington Capitals were contenders. The most important goals don't have to be fancy, they just need to write history.