That’s the mission that was put before me in coming up with the Top 5 goals of Markus Naslund’s career.
Go ahead, try to name an indisputable five goals. It’s impossible. I’ve already altered the following list six times and would have changed it a seventh if time permitted.
Naslund scored a franchise-best 346 goals with the Vancouver Canucks; eight goals came during a pair of four-goal games, another 24 on eight hat tricks, 48 were scored in the 2002-03 season alone, 114 were power play goals and 49 counted as game-winners – that’s nearly 15 per cent of Naslund’s total goal output.
And now you understand where I’m coming from.
Goal #5 - Messing with Montreal
January 3, 2002 vs. Montreal Canadiens in a 5-2 win
Talk about dizzying play. Naslund carries the puck from behind the Canadiens goal, down the left wing back to the blueline, where he makes a move on a Montreal forward before taking on three Habs and wristing a shot past a miffed Jose Theodore. Thing. Of. Beauty. This goal began a streak where Naslund had at least a point in 14 of 15 games stretching from January 3rd to February 4th.
Goal #4 - Penalty shot magic
October 18, 2001 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-5 loss
Although Naslund had only one penalty shot attempt to his credit before being sent in alone on Curtis Joseph, the poise and composure he displayed was that of a penalty shot master. First Naslund goes backhand getting Joseph to commit before pulling the puck back to his forehand and snapping it into the open net.
Goal #3 - Golden goal
December 14, 2003 vs. Carolina Hurricanes in a 2-1 OT win
One of Naslund’s greatest traits was his clutch goal scoring and that was on full display in late 2003 when he scored three straight overtime game-winners. The third and most epic came at the expense of the Hurricanes. Todd Bertuzzi begins the play by carrying the puck through centre before flicking it to Naslund down the left wing; Nazzy gets in close and roofs a wrist shot top shelf before showing some rare raw emotion with a double fist pump.
Goal #2 - Last second heroics
March 6, 2000 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-5 OT loss
Comeback complete. With the Canucks trailing the Maple Leafs 5-4 and the clock working against them, Ed Jovanovski sends a backhand pass to Naslund as he enters the Toronto zone. Naslund goes forehand to backhand in close on Glenn Healy and scores a truly memorable goal, which John Shorthouse accompanies with a truly memorable call.
Goal #1 - Coast-to-coast
January 8, 2003 vs. Ottawa Senators in a 6-4 win
Sami Salo leaves the puck for Naslund behind the Vancouver goal and just as a Canucks power play begins, Naslund decides to ride out the play solo. The result speaks for itself. Patrick Lalime is still having nightmares.