This will be hard to believe for some, but it has already been 10 years since the Vancouver Canucks went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.
It’s a bittersweet anniversary.
We all know how the series ended, and certainly there are some haunting memories because of that. But you know what else? For two months in the spring of 2011, there was no better time to be in Vancouver.
The Canucks thrilled fans along the way, with the bandwagon filling up. That friend of yours that never watches hockey was suddenly planning his or her day around the game that night. If you didn’t already own a jersey, you were at least buying a t-shirt.
And the car flags, oh the car flags.
It’s been 10 years. Let’s remember the good times.
11. Canucks storm the Blackhawks in playoff opener
The Canucks’ cruel reward for finishing first overall in the NHL with a franchise-record 117 points was a date with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1. After losing to the Blackhawks the previous two playoffs, the Canucks served notice that they wouldn’t be pushed around in Game 1.
Known as a skilled team, the Canucks brought out the playoff grit. They scored twice in the first period and Luongo shut the door the rest of the way, as they secured a 2-0 win.
They also out-hit Chicago 47-21. The 47 hits are still the most in Canucks franchise history since the NHL began keeping track of that stat in 2005.
10. Sedins light up the Sharks
Henrik and Daniel Sedin were at their most prolific during the Western Conference Final, tallying a combined 18 points in five games against the San Jose Sharks.
The twins were in vintage form during Game 2 especially, when Daniel scored two goals and Henrik had three assists in a 7-3 win. That’s also the game that Ben Eager tried to run Daniel through the boards, and a young lady flashed Eager when he got to the penalty box.
Game 2 was also an eventful one for Kevin Bieksa, who beat up Patrick Marleau in a fight…
…and scored a rare breakaway goal on a set play that fooled the Sharks:
9. Kesler goes “beastmode” in Nashville
Ryan Kesler took over during the second-round series against the Nashville Predators, scoring 11 points in six games. His most memorable goal saw him split two Preds players, including Shea Weber, to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead in the third period in Game 4.
8. Three 5-on-3 PP goals in under two minutes
The Canucks scored three goals in under two minutes, all on 5-on-3 power plays, in Game 4 against the Sharks. Kesler started the unusual sequence, while the last two were rockets from Sami Salo.
Vancouver made the score 4-0 in the third period after one of the greatest passes of Henrik Sedin’s career (and that’s saying something). On a two-on-one, Henrik passed the puck through goaltender Antti Niemi’s legs for a cross-crease tap in for Burrows.
7. Peaceful street party celebrations
Because of the way it ended, it’s easy to forget just how great the celebrations were in the streets of Vancouver after each win. Multiple outdoor viewing parties were set up during the Stanley Cup Final.
Until the final game, they were peaceful, and they were awesome.
6. Lapierre puts Canucks a game away from the Cup
After a pair of crushing defeats in Boston, the Canucks returned home for Game 5, and Roberto Luongo shut the door for a 31-save shutout in what was arguably the most clutch game of his career.
The only goal of the game came 4:35 into the third period, when Maxim Lapierre caught Tim Thomas out of position after a wide point shot by Bieksa.
5. Luongo’s season-saving stop on Sharp in Game 7
The Canucks nearly came up short in Round 1, after Chicago pushed them to overtime in Game 7. Burrows took an OT penalty, and Patrick Sharp would have ended their season if not for a season-saving stop by Luongo.
4. Raffi Torres scores to win Game 1
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was a goaltender’s dual between Luongo and Thomas, with the only goal being scored with 19 seconds left in the third period.
Kesler made an amazing play to tip the puck by a Bruins player while remaining onside, before setting up Jannik Hansen, who found Raffi Torres for a game-winning goal. It was a beautiful passing display.
3. Burrows scores in OT in Game 2 of the Finals
The Canucks never looked as close to the Cup as they did after Game 2 of the Finals, when Alex Burrows tucked home a wraparound goal 11 seconds into overtime. It gave the Canucks a 2-0 series lead.
2. Bieksa sends Canucks to Stanley Cup Final
Almost everyone lost sight of the puck after it took a wild bounce off a stanchion at Rogers Arena. Kevin Bieksa didn’t though, and neither did play-by-play man John Shorthouse.
It ended the game in double overtime, sending the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in team history.
1. Burrows slays the dragon
Burrows’ goal in Game 7 against the Blackhawks wasn’t just one of the biggest two goals in Canucks history, it was a history-altering moment.
The goal still gives Canucks fans goosebumps to this day.