My favourite game period is always the ea's NHL series, largely due to the EASHL. But another favourite from when I was a kid is NHL rock the rink. The commentators were hilarious and there was always crazy stuff going on.
NHL 2004 2010-2011 modded PC version AINEC
There's also a 96/97 mod, a 2001+classic mod, an AHL mod, and a Russia/Czech Mod. There's also a fantastic keeper league which has been using NHL 04 for the past few seasons so get playing and join that.
Nhl 94, NHL 95
NHL 2004 as mentioned earlier was a really great game
NHL 10-11 both great
As soon as you skate past the red line, the camera flips on you and takes a second to do so. Family couldn't afford a ton of games when I was younger, this was unfortunately one of the ones I got stuck with.
I probably put more play time into NHL2002 for PC than any other but my favorite has to be NHL94 on Genesis(far superior to the SNES version). I also liked Ice Hockey much better than Blades of Steel. I hated the fact that there was a moving arrow on the goal line showing your opponent where your shot was going to go.