The 2019-20 NHL season had many incredible moments before it was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and now fans can decide which one was the best.
The Greatest Moments of the NHL Season … So Far is down to eight entries from the original bracket of 64 with three rounds now complete. Fans will vote on one matchup per day, ultimately deciding the greatest moment up until this point.
Fans can vote on Twitter and Instagram each day from noon until 10 a.m. ET the next day. Each day, the winner of that matchup will be revealed, and a new set of moments will go head-to-head.
In the matchup Thursday, Andrei Svechnikov‘s lacrosse-style goal for the Carolina Hurricanes defeated Blake Coleman‘s one-handed goal for the New Jersey Devils.
The matchup Friday, the final one of the fourth round, has David Ayres’ win for the Hurricanes against the Toronto Maple Leafs as the emergency backup goalie facing Alex Ovechkin‘s 700th goal for the Washington Capitals.
Though fans will have the ultimate say, NHL.com staffers have cast their vote for which moment should advance to the final four, with Ayres winning 17-2.
Here is what some of the voters had to say about their pick:
Ayres win as EBUG
“You could make a documentary on Ayres’ once-in-a-lifetime night in Toronto, when he filled in as the visiting team’s goalie and went from the local ice resurfacing machine driver to an NHL legend. This was something you never could have scripted or even imagined, making this the most unique moment of the NHL season.” — Pete Jensen, senior fantasy editor
“Ayres did something so many of us have dreamed of doing, the everyman who came in and held his own against the world’s best players and earned a win. It was movie-script fodder and dream fuel for beer league goalies everywhere.” — Shawn P Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial
“From kidney transplant recipient and beer league goalie to NHLer for a day — the ultimate story of a dream come true.” — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
“Ovechkin’s milestone is great. But Ayres living out his dream of playing in an NHL game 15 years after a kidney transplant is the easy winner.” — Tracey Myers, staff writer
“I was at Prudential Center to see Ovechkin score his 700th goal during an afternoon game against the Devils, but my longtime memory of that day will be of watching Ayres play against the Maple Leafs on my iPhone while riding the train back to Washington that evening.” — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
“Ovechkin became the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 goals, and that wasn’t even the top storyline that day. That’s because Ayres, the emergency goalie, placed his name in the history books as well earning a win against the Maple Leafs.” — David Satriano, staff writer
“As momentous as No. 700 was for Ovechkin, he has had many moments and will have more. This was one shining moment for Ayres and a unique one in NHL history.” — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist
“I vote for the EBUG. Ayres’ is perhaps the most compelling story of the hockey season. He’s an everyman who not only overcame a life-threatening condition to be pressed into action against some of the world’s best hockey players on one of the NHL’s most-storied franchises, he got the win as well. It’s perfect Hollywood script material. — William Douglas, staff writer
“What Ayres did on that night in Toronto is usually reserved for the imagination. For a 42-year-old emergency goalie to be thrust into such a pressure situation and shut down any NHL team in the third period, let alone a high-powered squad like the Maple Leafs, is borderline absurd.” — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor
“I was among those in attendance to witness Ovi’s 700th goal at Prudential Center. It was quite a moment, particularly since he scored it in typical Ovechkin fashion — off a wicked slap shot from the right face-off circle. Even those New Jersey Devils fans in attendance saluted the Capitals captain with a nice ovation. It was a memorable moment, for sure.” — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer
“Ayres’ night in Toronto was certainly memorable, and clearly is the favorite in this category, but there is something to be said for a player hitting a milestone, especially when the pressure is him on to do so. Ovechkin has been the biggest story this season, and his 700th goal, on his signature shot, was certainly one of best moments this season.” — Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief
Tweet from @NHL: Andrei Svechnikov’s (@ASvechnikov_37) lacross-style goal continues on!We’re getting down to the wire! Who’s your pick between EBUG David Ayres’ win for the @Canes and Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) becoming the 8������th player in history to score 700 goals?VOTE ������������