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Best of the Best: 2015-16 season

by Brady Trettenero / Vancouver Canucks
From rookies putting on a display to sensational goaltending, the Vancouver Canucks made some fantastic plays over the course of the year. Here is the best of the best from the 2015-16 season.


BEST GOAL

Horvat toe drags and scores beauty vs. Oilers (04/06/16)

With the Canucks already eliminated from postseason contention and trailing 5-1 to the Edmonton Oilers in the final game at Rexall Place, Bo Horvat made sure fans got to see one last spectacular play. After Emerson Etem won a puck battle behind the Oilers net, the former Duck got the puck to Horvat behind the goal line. The 21-year-old cut out front towards the net, utilizing a filthy toe-drag move to get around Edmonton blueliner Jordan Oesterle. Once Horvat had Oesterle beat, he used his wicked release to quickly snap a shot upstairs over the glove of netminder Cam Talbot. Horvat finished the season hot, notching four goals and seven points in his final six games to help him reach 16 goals and 40 points on the year. Not a bad accomplishment in your second NHL season.

BEST ASSIST

Horvat’s nasty dangle leads to Baertschi goal vs. Lightning (01/09/16)

With the Canucks trailing the Lightning 1-0 in a January contest, Bo Horvat made a fantastic play to get Vancouver on the board. After taking a feed from Yannick Weber, Horvat entered the Tampa zone and cut straight up the middle. Horvat pulled a nasty toe-drag move to get around Bolt’s defenseman Victor Hedman, before feathering a sweet backhand cross-crease pass to a wide-open Sven Baertschi, who tapped it home to knot the game 1-1. It was just another multi-point effort for Horvat, who finished the season with nine multi-point games – tied with Henrik Sedin for second-most on the team. Baertschi potted 15 goals in his first full season with Vancouver, including two tallies in two games against the Lightning, helping Vancouver pick up three out of a possible four points against the 2015 Eastern Conference champions.

BEST SAVE

Markstrom makes three straight sensational saves vs. Oilers (04/09/16)

The Canucks were looking to end on a winning note when they took on the Oilers in their final game of the season at Rogers Arena. Jacob Markstrom did his part to ensure the Canucks went out with a victory. With Vancouver leading 1-0 in the second period, Edmonton went to work on the power play. Andrej Sekera unleashed a blast from the point that was redirected by forward Leon Draisaitl. Not only was Markstrom able to stop the redirection, he robbed Draisaitl once again on the rebound. And the Swedish netminder wasn’t done there. After he turned away Draisaitl’s rebound attempt with the glove, he reached back again with the glove and robbed Jordan Eberle, who was staring at an empty cage. This insane sequence included just three of Markstrom’s 35 saves on the night, as his superb play helped the Canucks finish the season on a 4-3 shootout victory.

BEST FIGHT

Virtanen answers the call against Preds’ Forsberg (03/12/16)

The Canucks were looking for an early spark in a March matchup with the Predators. They got it from Jake Virtanen. After the rookie knocked down Nashville center Mike Ribeiro with a big hit in the opening minute, Ribeiro’s teammate Filip Forsberg immediately challenged Virtanen. The 19-year-old rookie was up for the task, landing several solid rights and getting the better of Nashville’s leading scorer. Virtanen’s fight energized the crowed and helped the Canucks jump out to a 2-0 lead. The 19-year-old made his presence felt in his first NHL season, potting seven goals and dishing out a punishing 128 hits in 55 games. Virtanen wasn’t the only Canucks rookie to make an impact this season, as Jared McCann found twine nine times, while Ben Hutton came close to 30 points in his first season on the Vancouver blueline.

BEST TRIBUTE

Burrows salutes Bourdon after shootout goal vs. Oilers (04/09/16)

When the Canucks final game of the season went to the shootout, they needed a veteran to step up and deliver in the clutch. Alex Burrows did just that. With the Oilers failing to convert on their first two shootout attempts, Burrows had a chance to put the Canucks in command in the second round. With loud cheers from the crowd reigning down as his name was announced, Burrows moved in on netminder Cam Talbot. Burrows weaved in on Talbot, before faking a shot and then sliding the puck through the wickets of the Edmonton goaltender. After the goal, Burrows looked up to the sky and shot an arrow to the heavens to honour his late friend and teammate Luc Bourdon. Burrows went 3/7 in shootouts this season and helped Vancouver win one in front of their home crowd on the final day of their season.

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