This should spark a wide range of opinions. Who was the best player ever on a breakaway? Who were the top 5 in your opinion. Who was on a breakaway and it was lights out, you KNEW they'd score in the pit of your stomach.
My 5 and why:
1. Mario Lemieux - Like you had to even ask eh? There was a reason that when Lemieux was in all alone on a goalie the goalie would have this deer-in-the-headlights look on him. That's cause Lemieux knew he mad them at his mercy. he almost looked like he would toy with the goalie, but it didnt matter anyways. He'd either put it top shelf over the goalies shoulder or in the top corner after it grazed the post on the inside, or he'd use his big reach and when the goalie goes the other way he'd just casually slide it in. My favourite one of Lemieux is when in '93 he had a clear cut breakaway vs. the Rangers and with such ease he just dekes Healy out of his jock. Its on Rock 'Em Sock Em #5. Healy looks so bad on that one but he wasnt Mario was just that good. Plus he's 6/8 on penalty shots. Who stopped him? I'm not sure. Why was Mario so good on breakaways? I dont know ask Mylnikov (Russian goalie in Game 3 of '87 Canada Cup who allowed mario's famous top corner goal from Gretzky).
2. Pavel Bure - The thing with Bure is that his speed scared the pants off of you. A goalie wouldnt have time to react cause he'd be in there so fast. His best move was forcing the goalie to open up his legs and then putting it five hole as he was moving side to side. He made it look so easy, but no one else did it with such ease. Bure was more of the type to deke the goalie out of position rather than putting it top shelf. It was a miracle when Richter stopped him on a penalty shot in '94. But for whatever reason it was always lights out when he was in all alone. Mike Vernon will tell you that one.
3. Mike Bossy - The thing about Bossy was his scoring touch. He could put the puck up on the edge if he had to just to find a hole. And he did. He was another guy who hypnotized goalies back in his day, maybe not to the extent of Lemieux but he was just a pure bona fide sniper who scored, scored and scored. He scored the Cup winner in '83 on a breakaway form centre. Let's just say the puck was in before he even shot.
4. Jaromir Jagr - Love him or hate him, this guy scored when it was just him or the goalie (or two defenseman for that matter). He may be past his prime now but think about him from '94-01. Jagr made your jaw drop witht he way he deked the goalies out. He also had a gave the goalies a mental disadvantage much to the way Hasek did to shooters. In his prime he always did the same thing on goalies. He'd go back and forth with the puck 5 or six times before finally making his mind up to go forehand or backhand, which by then the goalie was usually dizzy. I remember Glenn Healy making a glove save of Jagr when he had been deked out of position in the late 90s. Even Healy looked surprised that he had it. Remember in the '98 Olympics in the shootout when he was the 4th shooter against Roy? If he scores its over. I remember just watching him come down the ice with those trademark hair locks and time just stopped, somehow he just hit the post. But he did that to you. When he had a breakaway, you never got up and went to the bathroom.
5. Joe Sakic - I may or may not get grilled on this one. But to me if I needed a goal on a penalty shot in the current NHL (not all time), I'd bet the farm on Joe. He WILL score. You just know that. It isnt his breakaway prowess that makes you think of him, but how often does he get stuffed when he's alone. Sakic has the best wrist shot in the game, and arguably the most accurate. He'll look for a hole and just aim. Remember in '02 Olympics when he went in alone on Richter. Lets just say he was NOT going to miss on that one, you knew it. It was his smarts and accuracy that set(s) him aside. That and his speed. He just had shots labelled before they left his stick.
Okay there it is. Feel free to disagree on that one I know some will. Other guys I think of are Lafleur, Goulet, Cournoyer. Currently Kovalchuk, Lecavalier, St. Louis, come to mind.
Your top four are the same as mine but I am not sure who I would have in that #5 position.
datsyuk is strong! don't you never heard of that time in Detroit when during a practice guys had 10 breakaways opportunities and datsyuk was the only one to score 10 times! and more...he scored in 10 different way