With the new season quickly approaching, the Maple Leafs have brought backÂ the old commercial in which fans talk about their favourite Leafs goal of all-time (you know the one, right?). So it got me thinking, what’s my favourite Maple Leafs goal of all-time?
Borschevsky versus the Red Wings in 1993? Nope. Gilmour’s overtime wrap-around against the Blues that same year? No, not that one either. My favourite Leaf goal of all-time is Steve Thomas’ OT winner in Game 5 versus the Senators in the 2000 playoffs. Now the overtime goals by Borschevsky and Gilmour may have been bigger, but I have to put Stumpy’s winner at the top of my list because I saw it in person.
I was at the game with my brother and we had ‘seats’ in the 300 level bar. We paid around $100 each for these standing room tickets, but it was well worth it (plus, the bar was only a few feet away). The series was tied 2-2 and you could feel a lot of nervous energy in the building. We did not want to go back to Ottawa down 3-2. That nervousness turned into euphoria as it ended up being the best game that I’veÂ ever gone to.
ThomasÂ tied the game with less than 5 minutes to go in the third to send it to overtime. The action in overtime was unbelievable. Both teams traded glorious scoring chances, making Thomas’ winner that much more exciting:
Sergei Berezin and Thomas broke out of the Leafs‘ end after Shawn McEachern (I think) missed a great chance off of a Curtis Joseph giveaway. Berezin had the puck. Stumpy flew past a flat-footed Igor Kravchuk, creating a mini 2-on-1. Berezin went wide and carried it into the Sens’ zone. Thomas roared to the net. Berezin laid a soft pass into the slot (probably the only time I can remember Berezin passing the puck) and Thomas re-directed it past the double-pad stack of Tom Barrasso. The place went crazy. I went crazy. I remember jumping up and down wildly and screaming uncontrollably. I high-fived my brother.Â I high-fived everyone around me. There were even people running up and down the bar behind us in sheer joy. It was unforgettable.
The celebration carried out into the street and into Union Station. Chants of “Go Leafs Go” could be heard everywhere. Blue Maple Leaf flags could be seen in every direction. The party carried on well into the night.
SoÂ that’s my favourite Leafs’ goal of all-time. What’s yours?
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