Every franchise has those pivotal moments, those big goals that stand the test of time. Maybe it won a big game, a Stanley Cup, even. Maybe it happened during a throwaway regular season game. No matter when it occurred, those goals stand the test of time and are remembered fondly by fans everywhere.
For a team like the Colorado Avalanche, one of the best Colorado sports teams, there are more than a few that could fill up any list. There are five, in particular, that have stood the test of time and are still talked about in some circles even today. This is the list of the five greatest goals in Colorado Avalanche history. Each has a unique reason for being here, but all five of them are the kind of plays that are only dreamt of.
Top 5 Goals in Colorado Avalanche History
This was a tough task because the Avalanche have had a lot of big moments in the 27 years the franchise has been in Denver. It took some time and a lot of internal debate, but these are the five goals that stand a cut above the rest. These are the five greatest goals in the history of the Colorado Avalanche.
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1.) The Dagger
Everything is on the line in Game 7. But when it’s for the Stanley Cup, there is no bigger stage in hockey. In a year that was dedicated to bringing a Stanley Cup to the legendary Ray Bourque, “Mission 16W” had one final assignment.
Leading the Devils 2-0 midway through the 2nd period, the Avs garnered a power play. After a great chance that was turned aside by Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, the puck landed on captain Joe Sakic’s stick.
A moment later, Sakic fired a laser as Gary Thorne called “he fakes it, takes it, scores!” This shot could not have been better. It went through a Hall of Fame defenseman (Scott Stevens), past the legendary Brodeur, and ended up just under the bar. If you are looking for a quintessential Joe Sakic goal, this is the one.
2.) Forsberg Wears Larionov
Let’s be honest here. This could be a list exclusively comprised of goals scored by Peter Forsberg during his time in Colorado. He had more than his share of dazzling moments with the Avs but this one definitely takes the cake. That’s why he heads the list of best Avalanche players of all time.
Beating Detroit 4-2 late in a pivotal second-round playoff game, Forsberg blocked a shot at the point from the Wings’ Igor Larionov. Gaining control, Forsberg charged up the center of the ice, Larionov viciously hooking him the entire time.
Even with the blatant impediment, Forsberg charged on, deking Osgood out of his pads. With a final flourish, Forsberg buried the goal and was taken into the net along with the puck. It is the singular example of the skill and toughness that Forsberg displayed for a decade with the franchise.
3.) Four Overtimes
The 1996 Stanley Cup Finals had been great for the Avalanche but not so much for the Eastern Conference Champion Florida Panthers. The Avalanche, up 3-0 in the series, looked to close things out in Game 4 on opposition ice.
John Vanbiesbrouck and Patrick Roy put on a clinic, stopping more than 110 shots between them as the game went into overtime tied 0-0. The first overtime came and went. So did the second overtime. It seemed as though neither goalie would bend in the epic showdown.
But 4:31 into the third overtime, it finally happened. Defenseman Uwe Krupp, not known for his offense, launched a shot on net. It was the 65th shot on net for Colorado, a seeing eye shot that found its way to the back of the net. Pandemonium ensued, giving the franchise its first-ever Stanley Cup.
4.) Forsberg’s Downfield Pass
Words can’t do this goal justice. Forsberg was known for a lot of things, but being the best passer of his generation may be the foremost. The way this play unfolded had the look of a set play, but it was a spark of magic between two Hall of Famers.
Forsberg, along the wall in his own zone, spotted a streaking Rob Blake just before the latter hit the Sharks zone. Forsberg lofted a perfect pass into the air, over the heads of every defender, landing with a deft bounce before coming to a rest on Blake’s stick.
The finish isn’t talked about enough because of how good the pass was but Blake absolutely shelved a quick shot over Evgeni Nabokov with the utmost skill. This is just the case of two elite players making only a play that elite players can make.
5.) Forsberg’s Dominant Effort
Yes, Peter Forsberg is on the list for the third time and rightfully so, as he is one of the best players from Colorado of all time in the NHL. It should underscore how dominant he was during his decade in Denver. During a game on March 3, 1999, one that really didn’t have much bearing on the season at large.
As it turns out, it would be a night Colorado Avalanche fans wouldn’t forget. Down 5-2 in the third, Forsberg turned in the kind of gargantuan effort only a few could manage. He received the puck below the left hash, shrugging off a hit from a defender. A shove in the back took him behind the net where, after one failed attempt, he changed directions before burying the puck short side on Sean Burke.
Though it did not have the historical impact of other goals, it just shows how Forsberg could – and did – take over games for the Avs. Down 5-0, the Avalanche road Forsberg’s dominant effort to a comeback 7-5 win, cementing his status as one of the very best two-way players in the world.
Though they may not have the history that some other franchises have, there is no denying that the Colorado Avalanche have had some truly great moments. There are a few others that would certainly make the list – Forsberg’s effort against Calgary, Alex Tanguay’s 2 goals in that aforementioned Game 7, etc. – but these are definitely hard to top.