5 Memorable Moments From the NHL 2022-2023 Season

Minnesota Wild's goaltender Marc-André Fleury and St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington

The 2022-2023 National Hockey League season was filled with surprises, upsets, and shenanigans.

This year gave us plenty to talk about, whether it was the almost fight that will live in infamy, the victory chant that doomed a team, or the game we thought would never end.

While it is easy to champion the best fight or celly in these highlight lists, the unforgettable moments that rallied the hockey community together are worth noting too. So here are five memorable moments that stuck with fans long after the final buzzer.

1. Fleury (Almost) Fights Binnington

It is the moment that will make every NHL top-moments list this year — the fight that almost happened between Minnesota Wild’s goaltender Marc-André Fleury and St. Louis Blues goalie/terror Jordan Binnington.

In a game ending 8-5 in favor of the Wild, Binnington (known for his short fuse) would grow increasingly hostile toward the opposing team. When his retaliation shot at Ryan Hartman caused a brawl to break out, Fleury made his way down the ice to settle the score.

“Oh my, let him go!” the announcer screamed as Fleury came into view of the camera, helmet off and that trademark grin on his face.

By chance, Fleury had been mic’d up for the game, and commentary from the nicest guy in the league did not disappoint as he tried to teach Binnington a lesson.

“It’ll be good! He always wants to fight somebody,” Fleury argued to a chorus of “no” from the ref holding him back.

Alas, Fleury’s attempts to talk his way into this momentous fight were unsuccessful, despite a few good swings in each goalie’s direction. That said, witnessing the beloved “Flower” attempt to give the villain of the NHL what he asked for is a legendary moment, fight or no fight.

Ultimately, Fleury would escape the near fist-a-cuff with a minor for leaving his crease and enough nice-guy points to win over a nation. Binnington would be ejected from the game, and in a bizarre move, he would attempt to pump up the crowd on his way out the door.

“It’ll be fun, no?” Indeed it was, Fleury.

2. Raining Fists and Rats in Florida

Game 5 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals would end with a whimper as Florida Panthers struggled to scrape together momentum against the Vegas Golden Knights. But Game 4 offered viewers a much more climactic final battle.

The true finale to this series witnessed Vegas barely clinching their deadly lead over the Panthers with a chorus of last-second chances and one deafening final buzzer. But the end of the game was just the start of the chaos as a frustrated Florida erupted in a fury of fists.

The brawl is a memorable one, with clusters of entertainment covering every inch of the ice. Every player managed to take the Golden Knight’s aesthetic literally as they brandished their sticks like swords at each other.

Like a work of art, every rewatch draws your eye to a new cluster of violence. Karlsson didn’t hesitate to full-body tackle Bennett. Vegas’ goalie Hill, itching for another fight, dove into the mob with determination. Tkachuk had a rogue penalty box Pietrangelo in a headlock. And somehow, at the end of this fight, Bennett is still fighting for his life on the ground.

What makes this work of violent art spectacular is the plastic rats raining down on the players. This bizarre tradition among Panther fans to throw rats on the ice after a victory had turned bitter as attendees lobbed them at Vegas after the loss. Yet, there is something poetic about watching men beat the shit out of each other as rats fall from the sky around them.

A shot of a rat lying defeated next to a discarded helmet certainly left us contemplating one of the more unique fights in NHL history.

3. A Wholesome Goalie Goal

Goalie goals are such a rarity in this sport that it is truly breathtaking to behold when they happen.

So when Boston Bruins’ Linus Ullmark skated out of his crease and snatched up the rogue puck with goose-bump-inducing intent, no one could predict the ease with which the goalie would do the impossible. “Here we go,” the announcer said as Ullmark sent the puck the length of the ice in a beautiful arc, the Vancouver Canucks watching in shock as it soared over their heads and into the empty net.

As if this clean beauty of a goal isn’t enough, every other element of this achievement elevates Ullmark’s goal.

The immediate victory celebration is the best part as Ullmark throws his hands up in the air like a big pad-wearing teddy bear and starts bopping with excitement as his teammates swarm him with hugs. He then skates to the bench for a victory lap of high fives with a little celly move at the end. The entire moment is as wholesome as a box of newborn puppies.

Then you take into consideration the Bruins were only up by one goal, and it was incredibly ballsy of a goalie to take a scoring chance. But Vezina Trophy winner Ullmark was red hot this year, and a goalie goal is a perfect way to cement that greatness with style.

As the first goalie in Bruins franchise history to score a goal, Ullmark did not squander his chance to put on a show.

4. Florida Panthers Win in 4OT

It is often the most obnoxious or explosive moment that we remember from the season, but there is something to be said about subtly.

Sure, there is nothing subtle about a fourth-overtime sudden-death battle. The historic game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers went well into the next morning as tired fans struggled to stay awake to savor the rare sight. Between watching fans fall asleep on camera and players regroup after each overtime, this never-ending game solidified itself as one for the history books.

But when the end came, no one could predict how swift and elegant the killing blow would be. With 12.7 seconds left in the fourth OT, Matthew Tkachuk would find a way past Carolina’s defense to win, and without celebrating, the man would turn around and motion for his team to get the hell out of there before disappearing down the tunnel.

In one swift motion, Tkachuk had won the game and sprinted for the exit, leaving Caroline fans to sit in stunned silence as they processed what just happened.

But the few that stuck around long enough to see players struggle to get off the ice would find solace in watching Panther’s goalie Bobrovsky helped upright by his teammates after collapsing in exhausted delight with 63 incredible saves over 79 minutes of play.

It’s the hockey game we never thought would end (and secretly didn’t want to).

5. “We want Florida.”

Everyone knows fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs are their own worst enemy. Every season, these fans declare, “This is our year!” despite it not being their year for fifty-six years. The team’s fan culture has become the franchise’s most entertaining, if not annoying, gimmick.

That saga would be taken to new heights when the Leafs beat Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, and fans did what they do best — immediately put their foot in their mouth.

Tampa’s demise wasn’t even fresh in the ground, and crowds of onlookers outside the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto began to chant, “We want Florida!” They were referring to the Florida Panthers, a wild-card team that squeaked into the playoffs after the Pittsburgh Penguins fell to the Chicago Blackhawks — a wild turn of events in itself.

The chant came after Boston Bruins continuously dashed Toronto’s second-round playoff dreams, notably returning from a three-goal deficit to win Game 7. So Leaf fans made their concerns about facing their mortal enemy known. What they didn’t realize was Florida would go on to beat Boston in a massive upset and give them the series they begged for, at an ironic cost.

Because Toronto would get Florida, only to be obliterated by the team in five games. Now the “We want Florida” chants live on as a hilarious reminder never to underestimate the underdog or mock them on live TV.

What memorable moments from this NHL season made your list? Let us know in the comments below!

twitter Follow us on Twitter and on instagram-icon Instagram!
Like us on Facebook!

‘School Spirits’ Renewed for Season 2 at Paramount+

Alicia is a writer from Canada. She credits her passion for TV and film to superheroes, workplace comedies, cheesy holiday movies, and coming-of-age stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.