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What a thrill

by Nolan Kelly / Vancouver Canucks

Overtime playoff hockey provides the greatest drama in all of professional sports.

One moment can turn a series; turn a series, and your team could end up in the finals.

In 40 years of hockey the Canucks have played 189 playoff games, 55 of those went to overtime. Fifty-five different times Canucks fans have sat on the edge of their seats hoping to witness the extraordinary - a ‘where were you when’ story to impart to their children.

Tonight we celebrate the greatest overtime goals in Vancouver Canucks history.


Canucks at Flames, Game Six, Round One, 2004

When the Canucks and Flames meet in the playoffs, more often than not, the winner goes to the Stanley Cup Final. This series was no different.

The Canucks were down 3-2, facing elimination in game six on the road against their hated rivals.

Triple overtime, do or die.

Three minutes into the third overtime period, Canucks centre Brendan Morrison starts to battle along the end boards. He carries Flames forward Marcus Nilsson on his back from one end of the ice to the other. Morrison spots Markus Naslund. Give and go. Morrison heads straight for the net and out-waits a sprawling Miikka Kiprusoff.

Game seven in Vancouver.

Morrison’s goal set up one of the most exciting moments in Canucks history, when, during the next game, with the Canucks down by one in the dying seconds, Matt Cooke tied it up on a shorthanded breakaway.

The Canucks would go on to lose in overtime, while the Flames continued on to the Stanley Cup Final, eventually losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games.


Canucks vs. Maple Leafs, Game Five, Round Three, 1994


Jim Robson.

It was game five, with the Canucks holding a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Anyone who has ever watched a Vancouver/Calgary playoff series knows how quickly a 3-1 advantage can disappear. Greg ‘Gus’ Adams put the Leafs out of their misery.

Right off the draw at the beginning of the second overtime, Trevor Linden streaks down the left wing, and stops up at the left hash marks. Dave Babych enters the zone, moustache in tow. He receives a back pass from Linden and fires a quick wrister on net.

A hard charging Greg Adams, sensing a rebound, heads for the net. With Dave Andreychuck draped all over him, Adams struggles free backhanding the winner past a sprawling Felix Potvin.

The Canucks’ book their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.


Canucks vs. Flames, Game Two, Round One, 1982

The Canucks hadn’t had much success in the playoffs until 1982. They’d won 3 games in 12 years with no playoff series victories to speak of.

Game two in the best-of-five series against the Calgary Flames changed all that.

Popular stalwart Harold Snepts skates up the right wing, shaking off a Flame. He stops up at the right hash marks and fires a pass to a wide open Lars Molin. Molin shoots. Fat rebound. Tiger Williams going hard to the net, does his best Bobby Orr impression; diving into the air then burying the puck while falling to the ice.

The goal is as memorable for its importance as it is for the celebration afterwards; Tiger, chugging like a train, skates to the other end of the ice, shrugging off his teammates one by one. They would eventually catch him and join the party.

The goal gave the Canucks a 2-0 series lead over the Flames and propelled them through the first round of the playoffs and on to the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals.


Canucks vs. Stars, Game One, Round One, 2007

There were a lot of tired Canucks fans at work on Thursday April 12th 2007.

With 10 minutes left in the 3rd period and the Canucks holding a two goal lead against the Dallas Stars, the game looked to be over.

Three hours later they were still playing.

The game went headlong into early Thursday morning. Both teams were exhausted, but the Canucks wouldn’t be denied.

Six hours after the puck dropped, the Sedin twins start to cycle.

Daniel Sedin, skating circles behind the net, fights off all-star defenseman, Phillip Boucher. Henrik peels off his checker and finds an opening.

Daniel’s uncanny ability to sense his brother’s whereabouts pays off; he fires a blind pass to Henrik in the slot. Top shelf. Game over.

The sixth longest game in NHL history produced one of the greatest goaltending performances ever seen; Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo was brilliant, stopping 72 of 76 shots over seven periods, setting a new NHL record for most shots faced during a single game.

The Canucks would go on to defeat the Dallas Stars in seven games, losing to eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Anaheim Ducks, in the next round of the playoffs.


Canucks at Flames, Game Seven, Round 1, 1994 playoffs

We all know the story. Canucks vs. Flames. Game seven. Double overtime.

We all know the goal. The Canucks’ game breaker. The Russian Rocket.

Jeff Brown, all vision and hands, cushions the puck on his own blue line. He spots a streaking Pavel Bure and threads an impossible pass behind three Calgary Flames. Bure fights through the would-be checkers, gaining a step.

He breaks in alone.

Dekes right, goes left. Series over.

If Kirk Mclean’s effort against Robert Reichel is known as ‘The Save’, then Pavel Bure’s series winner should be known as ‘The Goal’.

For Canucks fans, it is the defining moment of the franchise’s greatest playoff run.

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