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 16 entries from the original bracket of 64 with the first two 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.
Though fans will have the ultimate say, two NHL.com staffers will weigh in on the matchup each day to give his or her opinion on which one should advance to the fourth round.
In the matchup Sunday, Carolina Hurricanes emergency backup goalie David Ayres defeated Detroit Red Wings fans helping out their anthem singer.
The matchup Monday, the final one of the third round, pits Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th NHL goal Feb. 22 against Bobby Ryan‘s hat trick for the Ottawa Senators in an emotional return to Canadian Tire Centre on Feb. 27.
Tim Campbell, staff writer
Ryan’s hat trick surely is one of the cool moments of the season so far, but in our Greatest Moments bracket, it’s about to run into a level of competition that wasn’t present in the first two rounds. Ovechkin is one of the captivating players of our time, a goal-scoring machine who has been relentless in his march up the NHL goals list. The latest major milestone, No. 700, came when Ovechkin let fly a hard, accurate one-time shot, this time scoring past New Jersey Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood. The celebration that ensued had many nuances, not the least of which was that typical look of unbridled joy that comes with almost every Ovechkin goal, regardless of whether it’s a milestone. He was as charged for goal No. 700 as he was for No. 81 or No. 329. His combination of excellence and longevity has been coated with that love of scoring, so the achievement of this monster number of goals will be a moment difficult to eclipse this season.
Jon Lane, staff writer
For the second time in this tournament, Ryan’s hat trick is up against an NHL milestone reached by a generational player. In the first round, it was Sidney Crosby‘s 800 assists in fewer than 1,000 regular-season games, and now it’s Ovechkin doing what seven others have done in NHL history. However, I rate personal triumph over professional achievement. What Ryan did that night in Ottawa was a victory for the human spirit and those who can relate to what the Senators forward went through. He had the courage to ask for help and had a storybook return by scoring three goals to win a hockey game. How Senators fans reacted and how Ryan handled everything afterward was powerful. Ovechkin’s exploits are inspiring to those who want to play the game. Ryan’s comeback may have saved his life and that of someone else.