5. The Captain Has Returned…
Of all the goals that have been scored in Anaheim Ducks 26-year history, there is only one goal that most fans will remember as the goal. It wasn’t because of the skill, it wasn’t because of the talent, but it was because of the adversity that came before it, and the resiliency that came after it.
New fans may not be familiar with the goal, but to the OG MDA fans, we know there is one goal that if we see it, shivers run down our spine, we get emotional, we stand a bit taller and we pump our fists in jubilation when we see it. Of course, I’m talking about the one, and only, Captain Paul Kariya.
After 2 overtime heroic victories, the Ducks were hexed by the Devils in New Jersey. Now returning to Anaheim for Game 6, the Mighty Ducks would have to rely on everything they learned to keep their hopes alive. They got off to a good start, as Steve Rucchin scored twice and Steve Thomas netted his fourth goal of the playoffs, putting the Devils on notice that they would not go quietly.
The Devils got on the board, cutting the deficit to two goals, momentarily quieting the crowd. Then early midway through the second period, it happened. Paul Kariya, the Mighty Ducks captain was silenced into submission by Scott Stevens, the baddest, hit-squad defenseman from the New Jersey Devils.
More from All-Time Lists
- Anaheim Ducks: The Franchise All-Time Bracket Matchup
- Anaheim Ducks: Five of the Greatest Goals in Franchise History
- Anaheim Ducks: 25th Anniversary All-Decade Teams, The 2010’s
- Anaheim Ducks: The All-Time Top 5 Defencemen in Franchise History
- Anaheim Ducks: 25th Anniversary All-Decade Teams, The 2000’s
Scott Stevens used to reign terror, as he knocked out Ron Francis, Eric Lindros, and others before Kariya. What made it look worse was Kariya had concussion history, and he was lying motionless on the ice. Though he eventually got back up, everyone thought he was done for the series, and maybe his career was finished. What no one could’ve foreseen was a moment in time that every Mighty Ducks of Anaheim fan will never forget.
With about 10 minutes remaining in the second period, the crowd roared in unison, as Paul Kariya came back into the game. Suddenly, hope rose amongst his teammates and amongst the fans. Kariya was the guy who’s stickhandling skills were among the elite. He was known for scoring in creative ways. However, creativity went out the window, when, with two minutes remaining in the second period, Petr Sykora, the Mighty Ducks right-winger, passed the puck to Kariya.
Kariya was just inside the Devils’ blue line when he launched a howitzer, a rocket, a missile, a statement. His slap-shot goal lifted the roof off the Pond, as Gary Thorne uttered eight of the most indelible words of SCF history “Off the Floor, On the Boards, Paul Kariya!!!”
Even though the team didn’t win the Cup, that is the moment in time that MDA fans will always remember. I became a fan because of them. I think most, if not all, MDA fans will agree that this would be THE #1 goal in MDA SCF history.
Are you a passionate Anaheim Ducks fan that loves reading Pucks of a Feather? If so, we would love to have you on board as a contributor! Just follow the link above for more information on how to join the crew.