As 2014 winds to a close, TSN.ca looks back at the stories that made the year memorable. Producer Shane McNeil reflects on the best hockey moments from the past 12 months including a classic playoff battle and the most epic shootout ever.

Originally published on TSN.ca – December 24, 2014.

The True Stanley Cup Final

With all due respect to the New York Rangers, there was no way the 2014 Stanley Cup Final could live up to the finale of a series that saw two teams that had won three of the previous four Cups duke it out in a seven-game thriller.

The Kings almost looked to have blown the series, letting the Hawks claw back from a 3-1 deficit to force Game 7 and Chicago made the most of it, taking an early 2-0 lead in the decider. Three goals in just over a minute near the end of the first made a game of it and the teams traded goals in the second and third.

Andrew Shaw almost ended it on the doorstep in the final 10 seconds, but Jonathan Quick’s pad made overtime a reality. And, naturally, in a series that features the likes of Patrick Kane, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Jonathan Toews; it’s an Alec Martinez knuckler that bounces in for the winner.

It may not have been a beauty of a goal, but the game was timeless. This was the second straight Western Conference Final between the two teams: I think we could all get used to this being a recurring match-up.

“What if Everyone’s Gone in a Shootout?”

Don’t ask me why I found myself watching a Washington Capitals-Florida Panthers game in the first place, because it’s a long story, but last week’s tilt between the two finally answered a question I’d been wondering about for quite some time.

What happens once everyone on the roster takes a shootout attempt?

The two sides went at it in a 20-round shooutout that eventually handed the Panthers a 2-1 victory.

It was surprisingly fun to watch, oscillating from “This is why Player X has never taken a shootout attempt” to “Who knew Brooks Orpik had those hands?

While I must express some disappointment that Al Montoya and Justin Peters never got their chance to grab a stick, it at least provided concrete proof that the order just re-sets and everyone gets another crack.

Kudos to Nick Bjugstad, then, for ending the epic drama.

I guess Roberto Luongo and Braden Holtby also deserve credit for stopping a combined 29 breakaways, too.