When it comes to the most spectacular goal of the season for the San Jose Sharks, the choice may come down to a pair of surprisingly similar goals. I’ve written previously (A Tale of Two Goals) about similar looking goals scored against the Sharks. Today, it’s a happier look for Sharks fans.
The authors of the goals won’t surprise. One was Patrick Marleau, the leading goal scorer in Sharks history. The other was by Brent Burns, the uber-talented, most interesting player in the league. What might surprise is the similarity between the two goals. Both players took similar paths to their shot. Both were second period goals, scored at home. It means both plays happened on the same spot on the ice.
On both goals, the scorer took the puck in the neutral zone ice. Both players generated speed going down the left side while being watched by the defenseman. Both players made moves that left the defender flat-footed. Both managed to circle around the defender for the shot.
Marleau’s goal came against Florida, the Burns goal against Toronto.
The Better Goal
So which goal was better? Marleau’s shot was more spectacular, as the defenseman moved him deeper and forced him to make a u-shaped move to get the puck out in front of the net. Plus that dive across the goal mouth as the left-handed Marleau switches from forehand to backhand, that is pretty darn special.
On Burns goal, he beat two players. Unlike Marleau, who beat third line defender Alex Petrovic, Burns undressed a pair of good players. He put the puck through Nazem Kadri in the neutral zone and he simply overpowered Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf on his way to the net. The right-handed Burns went backhand to forehand before putting the puck in the net. That’s $11 million of salary cap between the two defenders.
For lack of a better way to decide, beating two high-end players is better than one low-end player. I’ll go with the Burns goal. Feel free to disagree!
Interestingly enough, the Burns goal will give fodder to both the “Burns to forward” and “Burns should stay on defense” boosters. He is playing defense, and it’s a pretty easy argument to say “who wouldn’t want a defenseman who can do that?” Others might counter with “you could see that more often if he was a forward.”
Two great goals, almost a matched set. As Jackie Chiles might say “they’re spectacular.”