Golden goal: Tkachuk’s between-the-legs heroics give Flames much-needed win

Johnny Gaudreau warming up for the Calgary Flames
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Ricky Dimon

NHL · 2 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The World Series stole much of the recent headlines and now the NFL and NBA are at the forefront of the sports world, but let’s not forget about our friends on the ice.

Let’s be honest; are there better highlights than ridiculous NHL goals? I don’t think so. Odell Beckham Jr. or LeBron James or Roger Federer may have a different opinion, but it’s easy to argue that it just does not get any better than—for example—what Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames did on Thursday.

That is came with one second left in overtime to give the Flames a 6-5 win over Nashville is merely icing on the cake. Under any circumstances, what Tkachuk delivered was goal-of-the-year type stuff. And here it is:

To say that is a difficulty level of 10 out of 10 would be a gross understatement. He was crashing the net at a high speed, eagerly anticipating a rebound that did in fact come right back to him. Controlling it between the legs is tough enough, but the 21-year-old forward also managed to flick it with impressive force and perfect direction past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

Déjà vu

This is not the first time Tkachuk has gone between his legs to find the back of the net. He was among a trio of players who accomplished similar feats during the 2018-19 campaign, producing a between-the-legs goal against the Islanders. But it was not quite as impressive that he was standing mostly motionless in front of the New York net. Nolan Patrick of Philadelphia and Aleksander Barkov of Florida also came up with moments of magic.

Which one is the best? It has to be between Barkov last season and Tkachuk on Thursday. You can’t wrong with either one of those gems.

Flames need to get hot

What would be really nice for the Flames is if Tkachuk’s goal ignites a winning streak. After compiling the best record in the Western Conference in 2018-19 (107 points), Calgary appears to be dealing with a bit of a hangover from a first-round postseason upset at Colorado’s hands. The team is off to an unspectacular 7-6-2 start that has it tied for fourth in the Pacific Division and tied for seventh in the West.

The Flames will try to win their second in a row when they continue a four-game road trip at Columbus on Saturday. Check out our free NHL picks for that showdown and all the others, both on Saturday and throughout the entire 2019-20 season.

Calgary may be in neutral now, but this is a club that is capable of getting hot. Tkachuk and fellow Johnny Gaudreau both have 13 points through 15 games and additional Tkahuk trickery would get the Flames on track sooner rather than later.

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