“Burrows steals! Cutting in, shoots…SCORES! …They’ve slayed the dragon!” -John Shorthouse, April 26, 2011
Can you believe that was five years ago already?
With apologies to Pavel Bure and his Game 7 overtime winner in 1994, it was the biggest goal in franchise history. Honestly, the feeling post-game is the closest that this franchise has come to a Stanley Cup winning feeling. That’s sad to say, I know, but it’s true.
We all know how the run for the Canucks in 2011 ended (I’m still not over it), but eventually I hope fans can look back at parts of it fondly.
And the number one moment was the dragon slayer.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, by way of gifs…
The 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks were the runaway winners of the Presidents’ Trophy. With a franchise record 117 points, they were 10 points better than the second place Washington Capitals.
Their reward for this spectacular, record-setting year? The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks, who seemed to have Roberto Luongo’s number in the playoffs, ended the Canucks’ season in 2009 and 2010.
Through the first three games, everything went according to plan for Vancouver. Luongo shut out the Hawks in Game 1.
The Sedins had their way with Chicago in Game 2 and 3. The Canucks had a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Raffi Torres also knocked out Brent Seabrook in Game 3, which all but guaranteed the Canucks waltzing to a series victory.
Or so we thought. Instead going away quietly, the Cup champs fought back.
Dave freaking Bolland returned to the lineup for Game 4, and appeared to be a catalyst for Chicago. Bolland had a goal and three assists, and the Blackhawks chased Roberto Luongo from the net, winning 7-2.
Game 5 went much the same, with Chicago winning 5-0 and Luongo getting pulled yet again.
It was at this point that a full scale panic engulfed Vancouver.
They couldn’t blow this, could they?
Alain Vigneault shocked everyone by starting rookie goalie Cory Schneider for Game 6, all but admitting the bugaboo the Blackhawks had over his starting goalie.
Of course, this was the Mike Gillis era, so the drama did not end there. Schneider suffered a cramp during a third period penalty shot goal by Michael Frolik, thrusting Luongo back into the United Center cauldron. The Hawks won in overtime.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Canucks goalie under more pressure than Roberto Luongo in Game 7. And he was excellent.
Ryan Kesler set-up Alex Burrows for the first goal of Game 7.
Alex Burrows had an opportunity to make it 2-0 when he was awarded a penalty shot (he missed).
Then Jonathan Toews scored one of the most incredible goals I’ve ever seen. With less than a minute to go and the Hawks shorthanded, he makes an incredible pass to Marian Hossa while falling down and scores on the rebound while lunging from his belly.
Of course he did.
The game went to overtime where Alex Burrows took an ill-advised penalty. Luongo stonewalled Chicago during the ensuing power play…
…Setting the stage for Alex Burrows’ heroics.
They slayed the dragon.
Five years ago, but it feels like it was yesterday.