GOAL OF THE YEAR: FINALS
Tyler Ennis squares off against himself in the finals for the goal of the year.
If you’re heading to Las Vegas to drop a few bucks at the sports books, here’s the hottest tip you’ll get all weekend: bet on Tyler Ennis.
The speedy Sabres center continues to roll through our “Goal of the Year” showdown bracket, and will now go head-to-head with himself in this weekend’s championship final following a pair of semifinal victories.
"It's an honor to go 'mano a mano' with myself," Ennis said today, barely containing his excitement.
In the first semifinal matchup, Ennis’ pass to himself against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 19 edged out a sensational solo effort by veteran Thomas Vanek, as he outskated several members of the Florida Panthers on October 29.
But Ennis wasn’t done yet.
Next on Ennis’ radar was Marcus Foligno, but the rookie’s “jump” celebration goal barely got off the ground in this one-sided contest. In the same way that he sliced and diced the Montreal defense on March 12, Ennis took down Foligno in the most lopsided margin of this year’s showdown voting.
Now it’s up to you to decide which of Ennis’s goals will be named the “Goal of the Year” for the Buffalo Sabres. Vote early and often. We’ll have the final results on Monday. And there’s a very good chance that Tyler Ennis will be named the winner.
#1: TYLER ENNIS VS. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Billy Idol may have been dancing with himself back in the 80’s, but Tyler Ennis was passing to himself on February 19 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sabres were up 5-2 on the Pens late in the third period of their only afternoon home game of the season. Buffalo had already torched starter Brent Johnson for three goals in the first 22 minutes, and were now facing Marc-Andre Fleury in the Pittsburgh net. Ville Leino worked the puck along the half wall, and he fed it to Zack Kassian in the corner. Kassian skated towards the net and spotted Ennis in the slot. Ennis used a nifty spin move to get open, and was right next to Pittsburgh’s Paul Martin when he took the pass from Kassian. He then flipped the puck over a sliding Martin, taking his own pass and depositing the puck into the wide open net past a helpless Fleury to close out the scoring in a 6-2 Sabres victory.
#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.”