The Edmonton Oilers are one of the most storied franchises in NHL history. Their rosters have iced some of the greatest to ever lace them up, won Stanley Cups, gone on cinderella playoff runs, and given hockey fans a collection of highlight-reel plays. From goals capping off emotional games to hometown heroes captivating the fans, to players going on a heater at the right time, to jaw-dropping plays, the Oilers have scored them all. As a lifelong Oilers fan, it’s always fun to relive some of these moments. So, I want to put together some quick lists of my favourites of some of the best goals in Oilers history.
Nail Yakupov Ties it Late Against the Kings
Nail Yakupov at once point was a highly-touted prospect. The first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft brought with him a ton of hype and excitement as a dynamic, scoring forward. Ultimately, that did not work out. But his rookie season was great. He had 17 goals and 31 points in the lockout-shortened 48 game season in 2012-13.
One of those 17 goals was an emotionally fueled game-tying goal late in the third period of a game against the Los Angeles Kings back on January 24th, 2013.
Edmonton was down 1-0 with about a minute left to play when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins appeared to have tied it. But, the goal was called back for goaltender interference, much to the chagrin of the Oilers’ home crowd who immediately began harassing the officials and throwing debris on the ice.
After the delay, the Oilers kept the pressure up until Yakupov potted another game-tying goal with 4.7 seconds left in regulation. The goal was followed by one of the most memorable celebrations I’ve seen as he charged towards centre ice, dropped to his knees, and slid before falling face down on the ice.
Unfortunately, that may have been a career highlight for Yakupov. However, it is still one of the best goals in Oilers history for the emotion it evoked in the arena and the in-game context in which it happened.
Todd Marchant Game Seven Overtime Winner
This is probably the most dramatic, exhilarating, and energizing goal in Oilers history. Todd Marchant, at this point, had established himself as a speedy, reliable, defensive forward for the Oilers. But that did not stop him from taking charge of the offence for a few seconds to complete a first-round upset in the playoffs.
In the first round of the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the seventh-seeded Oilers were in tough against the second seed Dallas Stars. Going into Game Seven of this close series, four of the six games were decided by one goal, with two of them going to overtime. Game Seven marked the third overtime game of the series.
With about eight minutes to go in the overtime period, the Dallas Stars had a golden opportunity to end the game but Curtis Joseph made one of the most unbelievable saves you will ever see, and definitely one of the best of his storied career, to keep the Oilers alive. Off the next faceoff, the Stars tried a couple of times to get their offence set up, but they never could. The Oilers grabbed the puck, Doug Weight fed Marchant speeding down the wing and the rest is history.
The emotion and energy around this win are contagious. The Oilers had a rough decade in the 90s and to have this series, a huge upset against one of the league’s powerhouses of that era, just helps to ease the pain and give some joy back to the players, the organization, and the fans. It also started a bit of a playoff rivalry in the following years as the Oilers and Stars frequently met in the playoffs, with the Stars defeating the Oilers in five of the next six seasons. Young me did not like the Dallas Stars growing up, let me tell ya. Marchant scoring this, one of the best goals in Oilers’ history, makes it sting just a tiny bit less.
Jordan Eberle’s First Career Goal
Heading into the 2010-11 season, Jordan Eberle was one of the Oilers’ most hyped prospects. A Canadian junior star, nationwide recognition for his heroics in the World Juniors, and expected to become a great scorer alongside Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, and Magnus Paajarvi. Early on, he did not disappoint. He scored one of the most memorable first career goals in Oilers’ history, and league history for that matter.
Cue opening night of the 2010-11 season, the Oilers are taking on the Calgary Flames in Edmonton. Going into the third-period shorthanded, Eberle got a chance on the penalty kill in his NHL debut. After the Flames failed to capitalize on a chance, the play turned the other way. Jim Vandermeer banked a pass up the boards for him speeding down the wing. He then deked out a sprawling defender, beat the goalie trying to stack the pads, and flew into the boards on his stomach.
In the midst of some rough years for the Oilers organization, this goal was a brief glimmer of hope. It gave fans something memorable to latch onto through the year and through Eberle’s tenure with the team. Not to mention it is one of the best first career goals in NHL history. We talked about this one for years. For a player who entered the league with as much fanfare as he did, it just got us that much more excited over the future in this era. Anything to help us through the Decade of Darkness. Him potting one of the best goals in Oilers history helps a bit.
These are just a few of the best goals in Oilers’ history. I definitely have more in mind so stay tuned for another few to drop in the future. Got a suggestion or a tip on which goal you’d like to see in a future post? Drop a comment below!
main image credit: