11 most impressive goaltending performances in Canucks history

Dec 13 2019, 3:30 pm

Statistically speaking, Jacob Markstrom’s 43-save shutout on Thursday night was one of the most impressive goaltending performances in Canucks history.

Helping the Canucks to a 1-0 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Markstrom nearly etched his name into the franchise record book.

The 29-year-old goaltender was just two saves away from tying Kirk McLean’s team record for most saves in a shutout. It’s one of just six 40-plus-save shutout performances in franchise history.

Markstrom stole the game for Vancouver, making several highlight-reel saves, prompting this hilarious tweet from the Hurricanes:

But while statistically Markstrom’s performance stacks up as one of the greatest shutout wins in the Canucks’ 50-year history, it didn’t crack our list.

Here’s a look at the most impressive goaltending performances in Canucks history.

11. Fountain gets shutout, almost a goal, in first-ever start (1996)

Canucks fans surely thought their goaltender of the future had arrived when Mike Fountain made his NHL debut in 1996.

Picked by the Canucks in the second-round of the draft four years earlier, Fountain stopped all 40 shots he faced for a 3-0 shutout win over the New Jersey Devils. Not satisfied with just that, Fountain also took a shot at the empty net, narrowly missing becoming the first Canucks goalie to score a goal.

As it turned out, Fountain wasn’t destined for greatness, appearing in just 11 career NHL games.

10. Schneider stonewalls the Kings (2012)

The Canucks didn’t have a memorable series against the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, so it’s easy to forget about Cory Schneider’s remarkable Game 4 performance that saved their season. Down 3-0 in the series, there was no margin for error when Schneider stopped 43 shots in a 3-1 win for Vancouver.

9. Luongo and Canucks slay the dragon (2011)

The Canucks’ Game 7 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011 is best remembered for Alex Burrows’ heroics, but the pressure to win was on Luongo more than anybody else.

Luongo needed to have a great game, and he did, stopping 31 of 32 shots he faced, including a game-saver on Patrick Sharp in overtime.

8. McLean makes ‘the save’ (1994)

The greatest save in Canucks history was one of 46 made by McLean against the Calgary Flames in Game 7 in the 1994 playoffs. Vancouver won the game (and the series) 4-3.

7. Luongo stops the Bruins in Game 1 (2011)

The 2011 Stanley Cup Final was a goaltender’s dual, with Luongo outplaying Tim Thomas for a 1-0 Canucks win. Luongo stopped all 36 shots he faced, setting the stage for Raffi Torres to score the only goal of the game with 19 seconds left.

6. McLean unstoppable in Montreal (1991)

The Canucks record for saves in a shutout performance belongs to McLean, who stopped 45 shots in a 3-0 win in Montreal on December 4, 1991. The performance prompted Canadiens coach Pat Burns to say: “We got beat by one man – Kirk McLean.”

5. Brodeur steals Game 1 in Chicago Stadium (1982)

A list of great goaltending performances would not be complete without the inclusion of Richard Brodeur, who was sensational during the Canucks’ run to the 1982 Stanley Cup Final.

Brodeur’s most heroic performance came in Game 1 of the Conference Final when he stopped 46 of 47 Chicago Blackhawks shots, allowing Jim Nill to win the game for Vancouver in double overtime.

4. Luongo wins the game that wouldn’t end (2007)

It’s not often that a goalie can let in four goals and still have it considered to be an all-time great game. But that’s the case for Roberto Luongo’s first-ever playoff game, in Game 1 of the first round of the 2007 playoffs against the Dallas Stars.

This wasn’t your average game, as the Canucks won the longest game in team history, with Henrik Sedin’s game-winner coming with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth overtime period. Luongo made 72 saves, which still holds up as a Canucks record.

3. Luongo comes up clutch in Game 5 against Boston (2011)

After being thumped in Games 3 and 4 in Boston, the Canucks got one of the greatest and most clutch performances from Luongo in Game 5.

Vancouver was outplayed, but Luongo was unbeatable, stopping all 31 shots he faced for the 1-0 win.

2. Luongo sends Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final (2011)

Before Kevin Bieksa scored in double overtime to send the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Luongo stopped 54 shots, including 20 in overtime, and was named the game’s first star.

1. McLean steals Game 1 in New York (1994)

The New York Rangers threw all they could at the Canucks in Game 1 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, but couldn’t solve McLean. In the greatest goaltending performance by a Canucks goalie ever, McLean made 52 saves in an upset 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden.

McLean made several high-danger saves before Greg Adams won the game for Vancouver with less than a minute left in the first overtime period.

“Vancouver walked out with a win because of their goaltender,” Rangers coach Mike Keenan said after the game. “Someone on our bench said McLean was so focused out there, the puck probably looked as big as a beach ball.”