If you close your eyes and I say the name “Pavel Bure” there’s a pretty good chance you’re imagining his goal in game 7 against the Calgary Flames in 1994. Tom Larscheid immediately called it the “greatest moment in Canucks history” – and he was absolutely right (hint: the #1 moment on this countdown tomorrow might incorporate this goal as well).
Here’s how Jim Robson and Tom Larscheid described it:
To understand the immensity of this goal, one needs a quick history lesson on the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks entered the league in 1970 and won their first playoff series in 1982. It took another 10 years for them to win another series in 1992. The Canucks won their division in 1991-92 and again in 1992-93, but were upset in the second round both times. So Canucks fans weren’t exactly accustomed to success.
The team in 1993-94 was expected to be good again, but disappointed during the regular season. Most of the team was still intact, aside from Petr Nedved holding out for most of the season and losing veteran defenceman Doug Lidster. Fans knew that the team was talented, yet they finished in 7th place in the conference. That set-up a first round matchup against the Calgary Flames.
The Canucks surprised the heavily favoured Flames in game 1, winning 5-0 (!) in Calgary. That appeared to wake up the Flames, who won the next three games (7-5, 4-2, 3-2) to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Pavel Bure had zero goals through the first four games. The Flames were a good team most years and still had the likes of Theo Fleury, Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts, Al MacInnis and Mike Vernon from their Stanley Cup team in 1989. It was looking bleak for the Canucks.
What happened next is the stuff of legend.
In game 5, Bure scored the Canucks lone goal in regulation time and Geoff Courtnall got the winner in overtime. In game 6, the game went to overtime again with Bure assisting on Trevor Linden’s overtime winner. That set up a dramatic game 7.
Bure scored once in regulation time with other goals from Geoff Courtnall and Greg Adams. Adams’ goal came with just 3:37 remaining in the third period to tie the game 3-3 and force overtime. In overtime, Kirk McLean made “the save” and Pavel Bure scored the winner in double overtime to send the Canucks to the second round.
What’s been your favourite moment so far? Let Rob know on Twitter at @RobTheHockeyGuy.