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Ten Worst Goals of the 2014-2015 NHL Season

Allowing a terrible goal is an awful feeling. It doesn’t feel good to laugh when it happens to a professional goaltender either, but deep down there is some satisfaction. If it can happen to one of them, then it can happen to anyone! It may be the fact that truly terrible goals are so rare in the NHL that makes it okay.

Last week Mike Smith scored on himself by shooting the puck off Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter, who was standing directly in front of him. That embarrassing goal inspired this list of the worst goals scored in the 2014-2015 NHL season so far:

#10 – Viktor Fasth, Edmonton Oilers – 11/25/2014
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Predictably, the Edmonton Oilers start off the list. This play by Viktor Fasth looks bad because he is so deep in his net, but the puck was definitely knuckling and may have deflected off one of his own player’s sticks. It’s pretty hard to tell, but for those reasons we’ll keep this John Klingberg long shot at number ten.

#9 – Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes – 3/3/2015
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Where to begin with this one? The original shot is tipped and takes a nose dive, but why is Smith jumping? Under no circumstance should a goalie ever jump to make a save. If you have to jump to get to the puck, it’s going over the net. Just leave it alone! Smith learned that the hard way. It may still have gone in if he didn’t jump, but thankfully he did. It’s a pretty hilarious looking clip.

#8 – James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs – 11/15/2014
& Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks – 2/26/2015

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These two goals are eerily similar, so we’ll lump them together. Both goaltenders are caught way out of their net, in no man’s land, in the exact same spot, in the same rink. Both goaltenders are beat to the puck, and both dive headfirst back into the net in pure desperation. The only thing that makes it sadder is the fact that they both happened against Buffalo. This has to be a set play, right?

#7 – Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals – 11/14/2014
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Braden Holtby was visibly upset after this goal, for good reason. Most of the time when a goalie gives the puck away, he has a chance to recover and make up for it. Not this time. Holtby lays it on a tee for Mike Cammalleri, who one-times it into the wide open net. No chance for anyone on the ice to react. On top of that? This late third period goal was the game winner in what ended up being a 1-0 New Jersey Devils victory.

#6 – Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets – 11/21/2014
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Usually players that shoot low and hard are looking for a rebound, but this shot comes from the middle of the neutral zone, and nobody else is around. It must have caught Bobrovsky off guard because it goes right through him. He failed to seal his five-hole, and he probably should have deflected it away with his stick anyway. Two major mistakes land this embarrassing goal at number six.

#5 – Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets – 3/10/2015
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In terms of importance, depending if the Winnipeg Jets make the playoffs, this goal vies for the top spot. After the Jets battled back to tie the Blues 4-4 in St. Louis, Pavelec allowed this stinker from centre ice in the dying minutes. There was no recovering from a gaffe like that, as time quickly expired, and the Jets missed out on at least a single point in the standings. Pavelec claims he lost the puck in the crowd. Regardless, it was a big mistake at an even bigger time.

#4 – Evgeni Nabokov, Tampa Bay Lightning – 10/25/2014
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This wasn’t the goal that sealed Evgeni Nabokov’s fate with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but it certainly didn’t help his case. He was either caught napping, or simply thought he was at the proper angle. Both of those explanations are terrible, and as a result, it was not a surprise to see the Lightning cut Nabokov loose later in the season by trading him to San Jose so he could retire. Talk about a sad finish to a great career.

#3 – Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs – 1/29/2015
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There isn’t a great angle of this goal to tell if it was knuckling on Bernier, but that’s because it happened so quickly at the start of the period. That’s actually part of the reason that this is so high on the list! Oliver Ekman-Larsson now holds the record for scoring the quickest shorthanded goal at the beginning of a period because of this goal. Bernier’s look of disbelief after it goes in speaks for itself.

#2 – Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers – 2/10/2015
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Although this puck is bouncing, this is still an inexcusable goal for Luongo to give up. He makes no effort to get any part of his body behind the puck, and tries to calmly scoop it off the ice. The golden rule of playing a long shot is to make sure at least part of your body is behind your glove, just in case something like this happens. Whether it was overconfidence, or simply laziness that led to this goal – it was completely self inflicted. He earned the number two spot. At least he was able to shake it off quickly.

#1 – Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks – 2/20/2015
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This is the mother of all long shot goals. Everything about this goal makes it a sure fire number one on this list. Even by dump-in standards, this is a light dump-in. This type of nonchalant play will cause goalie coaches to rip their hair out, but it’s not normally seen at the NHL level. Every little kid that is just starting to become a goaltender needs to see this clip before hitting the ice. This is what could go wrong if you are not careful. It’s unfortunate that it had to come at Corey Crawford’s expense – but it’s a lesson learned!

About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario with the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio and work with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.

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