- Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull have the most playoff game-winning goals (24).
- Joe Sakic has the second most game-winning goals in one postseason (6).
No goal is more valuable or difficult to score than a playoff game-winner, making the frequency with which these five players scored them all the more extraordinary.
When choosing your NHL betting picks, particularly in the playoffs, it’s always a good idea to lean toward teams with clutch performers who step up when the pressure intensifies.
Dallas’ Joe Pavelski is one such player. He has 14 playoff game-winning goals, the most of all active players. The Pens’ Evgeni Malkin has 13, New Jersey’s Ondrej Palat has 12, while Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are stuck on 11.
Those are the only five still active of the top 50 players who’ve scored the most game-winning playoff goals.
Most Playoff Game-Winning Goals
Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull are atop the most playoff game-winning goals chart. Both scored 24 game-winning goals in the playoffs during their distinguished careers.
It’s hard to fathom anyone catching either player; such is the gap between them and the chasing pack.
Here are the five players with the most game-winning goals in the playoffs.
5. Maurice Richard
Playoff Games: 132
Game-Winning Goals: 18
It only took Maurice Richard 132 playoff games to score 18 game-winning goals, the best return of the top five. Richard scored his 18 playoff game winners with the Habs, the only team he suited up for during his 18-season career.
The Rocket scored four game-winning goals during the 1957-58 postseason, which resulted in the Habs winning their third of five straight Stanley Cups.
The legendary right-winger scored three game-winning goals in the playoffs twice, in 1950-51 and 1956-57.
4. Claude Lemieux
Teams: Montreal, New Jersey, Colorado, Phoenix, Dallas, San Jose
Playoff Games: 234
Game-Winning Goals: 19
Claude Lemieux made a career of getting under the opponent’s skin. He was one of those players adored by teammates but loathed by those facing him.
Lemieux was responsible for suffocating other teams’ best players, and he had an uncanny knack for landing the knockout punch.
Lemieux scored 19 game-winning goals in his first 13 playoff appearances but failed to notch one in his final five. The feisty forward scored four game-winning goals twice, in 1985-86 with the Habs and 1996-97 as a member of the Avs.
His four game-winning goals in the 1985-86 playoffs played a crucial part in Montreal’s Stanley Cup success. But, counterintuitively, Lemieux didn’t score a game-winning goal during Colorado’s 1995-96 Cup-winning playoff run.
3. Joe Sakic
Teams: Quebec, Colorado
Playoff Games: 172
Game-Winning Goals: 19
Joe Sakic led the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup, thanks to six game-winning goals – two in overtime – in the 1995-96 playoffs. Only Brad Richards scored seven game-winning goals in 2003-04 with Tampa Bay and notched more in a single postseason.
Unsurprisingly, Sakic was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for his timely goals and prolific offensive output. He scored 34 points in 22 playoff games, ensuring the Avs won the Stanley Cup in the franchise’s first season in Colorado.
Sakic stepped up again in 2000-01, scoring three game-winners during Colorado’s second Stanley Cup-winning run. Those two Cup runs accounted for nine of Sakic’s 19 playoff game-winning goals.
2. Wayne Gretzky
Teams: Edmonton, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York Rangers
Playoff Games: 208
Game-Winning Goals: 24
Add yet another record to Gretzky’s astonishing resume. The Great One scored 24 game-winning playoff goals, joining Hull atop the list.
Gretzky never scored more than four game-winning goals in the same postseason but managed three in five different playoffs. Three of those five postseasons resulted in his Oilers winning the Stanley Cup.
The remaining two saw Gretzky lead his teams to the Stanley Cup final, where the Oilers lost to the Islanders 1982-83, and the Kings fell to the Canadiens in 1992-93.
1. Brett Hull
Teams: Calgary, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit
Playoff Games: 202
Game-Winning Goals: 24
Brett Hull was one of the all-time best natural goalscorers. He was a puritan poacher, and it showed in the postseason. Nobody has scored more playoff game-winning goals than Hull, who notched 15 of his 24 as a member of the Blues.
He scored four game-winning goals once during the 1999-2000 playoffs with Dallas. The Stars lost to the Devils in the final that season, a year after Hull secured his first Stanley Cup.
Hull scored two game-winning goals in both playoffs that culminated in winning the Cup, the second of which with the Red Wings in 2001-02. He scored three game-winning goals in two playoffs with the St. Louis Blues (1987-88 and 1989-90).
His most famous game-winning goal clinched the Stanley Cup for the Dallas Stars. He scored in Game 6 of the 1998-99 final against the Buffalo Sabres in triple overtime, which, at the time, was controversial due to a rule that should have never been enacted.
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