San Jose Sharks: Brent Burns comes up clutch with insane goal of the year candidate

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88). Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88). Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Brent Burns may have just scored the goal of the year in the NHL for the San Jose Sharks.

It was a busy day in the National Hockey League on Sunday as we were treated to a mouthwatering feast of 11 games, and without a doubt one of the highlights was Brent Burns producing a moment of pure magic for the San Jose Sharks in their wild game against the Minnesota Wild (we’ll leave now).

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Heading into the contest with a 2-3-0 record while the Wild were second in the West Division with an impressive 4-1-0 record, the odds were stacked firmly against the Sharks and it looked like it was going to be another rough night when Zach Parise recorded his second goal of the year just 4:21 into the first period.

However, three unanswered goals from Ryan Donato, Evander Kane and Noah Gregor put San Jose firmly in the driving seat in what was an impressive end to the first period and an even better start to the second, but Nick Bjugstad‘s first goal of the season and Kevin Fiala‘s power play goal made it a tied game at 3-3 with this one seemingly heading to overtime.

Brent Burns wins a big one for the San Jose Sharks with mouthwatering play

Brent Burns had other plans, though. With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, the six-time All-Star reacted quickly to a Sharks faceoff win in the offensive zone and, after having a shot blocked, he picked up the puck again before weaving his way through and past not one, not two, not three but four Minnesota Wild players, displaying all the elegance and grace of a a ballet dancer in a majestic performance of Swan Lake or The Nutcracker.

Facing the Wild was not some sublime master of dance, however, instead they had to contend with a beared Burns adding his own unique heavy metal spin to the purest form of dance, using his huge 6-foot-5, 230 pounds frame to keep opponents away from him as he displayed slick hands to switch from forehand to backhand and back again to weave in-between skates and sticks before switching to his backhand once again and ripping a wicked shot over the shoulder of Kaapo Kahkonen for what proved to be the game-winner with Matt Nieto later adding an empty-netter to wrap things up.

But Burns’ stunning solo effort grabbed the headlines and rightly so because it will go down as one of the best goals you will see all year, and it may even belong in the conversation for one of the greatest goals ever scored in the NHL. After all, just watch that clip over and over again and you will gain a real appreciation for just how difficult that goal was to score.

For starters, to have the hand-eye coordination, the awareness and the skill to constantly switch from backhand to forehand and back again while moving at top speed is nuts, and then Burns also had the small matter of having four Minnesota players right up in his personal space before then having the ability to again go to his backhand with not a lot of room to work with and lift the puck over the shoulder of Kahkonen and into the net, all while rapidly moving towards the goal at speed.

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It was just a sensational play by Brent Burns that will get replayed over and over today, and rightly so, and it was also a moment of genius in a clutch moment to literally put the game on his stick, create something out of nothing and score the game-winning goal to lift the San Jose Sharks over a hot opponent. That’s why this sublime effort should already be considered an early goal-of-the-year contender because it was just that good, and it was a reminder of just how insanely skilled a defenseman and hockey player Brent Burns is.