GOAL OF THE YEAR: QUARTERFINALS #4
Jason Pominville & Tyler Ennis square off in the final match-up of the quarterfinals.
#4: TYLER ENNIS VS. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Tyler Ennis makes his second appearance in our “Goals of the Year” showdown bracket, this time courtesy of his sick mitts from a game against the Montreal Canadiens at First Niagara Center on March 12. Trailing the Canadiens 1-0 midway through the game, it took a highlight reel goal from Ennis to tie the score at 11:08 of the second period. After Drew Stafford had forced a Montreal turnover in the neutral zone, he chipped the puck over the Canadiens blueline to Ennis. The speedy center stickhandled his way past a helpless Andrei Markov, and then continued his mastery with a backhand-forehand deke on Habs netminder Petr Budaj that ended with a wrist shot to the far side as he continued skating away from the net. “I just came over the line with speed. I didn't know who it was,” explained Ennis. “I figured he was a little flat-footed. I was originally just going to shoot, but then I saw he was kind of flat-footed so I thought I'd make a little move.”
#5: JASON POMINVILLE VS. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Jason Pominville will forever live in Sabres history for his “scary good” shorthanded series winner against Ottawa in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With a playoff spot on the line in Buffalo’s biggest game of the 2011-12 season in Washington on March 27, the captain stepped up again with some shorthanded magic. With Robyn Regehr in the box for hooking and momentum starting to shift towards the Capitals late in the second, Keith Aucoin fired a puck around the boards that Alexander Ovechkin misplayed at the point. As the bouncing puck rolled behind him, Pominville gave chase and outworked Ovechkin all the way down the right boards before scooping up the puck and beating Michal Neuvirth with a low wrister to the far side. “It was huge for him to outbattle Ovechkin there. Anytime you can get a shorthanded goal that can sway the momentum for you big time,” said Drew Stafford. “It’s tough for a power play to give up one like that. So for Jason to bury that one was big for us. They seemed like they had a little bit of life at that time in the game, so it was big for us.”