“We can be heroes, just for one day,” sang the late and great David Bowie.
This list will go through the ten most important goals in Vancouver Canucks history, with some of these goals etching the scorers’ names in the history books forever.
Each of these goals has had a lasting impression on fans and has had a significant place in Canucks history. Even if it was for one play, one day, or one game, these goals have made each player a hero.
10. Barry Wilkins scores the first-ever goal
To kickstart this top ten, we start at the team’s first-ever goal in franchise history.
Barry Wilkins did his version of the Savardian Spin-O-Rama and slid the puck on his backhand, beating Kings goalie Denis DeJordy to cement his place in Canucks history.
9. H. Sedin on the verge of history
We all know that one of the best regular-season games was the last game of the 2009-10 season, where Daniel Sedin went between the legs. Though more importantly, Henrik Sedin needed to pad his stats to win the Art Ross Trophy.
In the last weekend of the regular season, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin were hot on Henrik’s tail. Both the Penguins and Capitals played on Saturday and Sunday, while Henrik only had one game on the weekend. Lucky for Henrik, he recorded four points in his last game, giving him 112 total points, a Canucks single-season record. However, it was only point 110 that he needed to earn him and the team its first Art Ross and eventually the Hart Trophy.
Henrik’s second point of the night was a thing of beauty, which was capped off by brother Daniel. This goal has meant so much to both Henrik, and Daniel’s hall of fame resumes.
8. H.Sedin ends the longest Canucks game
The changing of the guard came in the 2006 offseason. Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund provided leadership, but this was the coming-out party for the Sedins. The 2006-07 season started a run of ten straight years of either Henrik or Daniel leading the team in scoring.
18:06 into the fourth overtime, the Sedin’s teamed up as per-usual to give the tired home crowd (who stayed until the very end) a jolt of energy.
7. Thomas Gradin scores first SCF goal
After finishing second in the Smythe division in 1982, the Canucks found themselves in the postseason for the sixth time in team history. Little did they know this would turn into a run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Before playing the mighty New York Islanders, who already had back to back Stanley Cups and were gunning for a third straight, the Canucks went 11-2 in the Clarence Campbell Conference.
No one expected the Canucks to win the series against the dynasty that was the Islanders. Rightfully so, as the Islanders swept the Canucks, leaving them waiting for another 12 years before another finals appearances and win. however, they did score their first-ever SCF goal.
Thomas Gradin scored the team’s first-ever Stanley Cup finals goal. Since then, he has played an intricate role in the team’s future. He played a key role and paved the way for Swedish stars like the Sedin’s, Mattias Ohlund, and Alex Edler.
6. Henrik grabs point 1000th in the NHL
The first Canuck to ever score 1000 points in the NHL, all while wearing a Canuck uniform. From a faint list of achievements in history, the arrival of the Sedin’s filled the trophy cabinet a bit more.
Most sports bookies would have had Henrik passing to reach his 1000 point, but instead, he found twine. Scoring on his former teammate Roberto Luongo was truly the icing on the cake.
5. Burrows to the rescue
Alex Burrows was a lot of things. A pest, a goal scorer, and a great teammate. However, he also saved many jobs. During the 2008-09 season, the team had high expectations but stuttered coming out of the gate. The boiling point came during an ugly stretch run in the winter.
From late December to the beginning of February, the Canucks couldn’t buy a win. In 18 games, the Canucks went 4-9-5. What made it worse was the home record. Rains of boos started to pour onto the ice after every home loss, and the atmosphere started to become toxic. Jobs were in jeopardy and trade speculation arose while questions of “what if this core isn’t good enough” dominated the airwaves and headlines. But that vanished when the Carolina Hurricanes came to town.
Alex Burrows scored this late shorthanded goal to give the Canucks a lead, and this proved to be a real turning point for the young core that would eventually go on a memorable cup run two years later. But more on that later.
We know for sure that Alain Vigneault was on the hot seat and he has said that Burrows saved his job on numerous occasions. One of them was this goal, and the other is a few scrolls down.
4. Brown to Bure
Came from down 3-1 and kept the faith. It was a long time coming but beating the Flames was well worth the wait. “Brown to Bure,” one of the greatest Canuck calls and games in the team’s history, provided a great moment in Vancouver hockey.
The third overtime winner in three consecutive games, coming back from down 3-1, and scoring in double overtime, Pavel Bure’s goal against the Flames started what would become a magical run to the Stanley Cup finals.
3. The stanchion goal
Kevin Bieksa’s most important goal of his career ranks third on the list of important goals in Canucks history. Arguably the strangest way to end a series, but lady luck was on Bieksa’s side during game five of the Western Conference Finals.
The third trip to the Stanley Cup Finals and first in 17 years, Bieksa’s game-winning and series-winning goal will not soon be forgotten.
2. Greg Adams puts the dagger in the leafs
“Greg Adams! Greg Adams! Greg Adams!”
The goal that defeated the hated Toronto Maple Leafs in game five of double overtime and sent the Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals.
The 1994 run to the cup was pure magic, starting from Bure’s game seven winner in round one to Adams beating Felix Potvin. No one gave this group a fighting chance once the playoffs began, let alone against the number one seeded New York Rangers who the Canucks fought tooth and nail to push the series to seven games.
1. The dragon is laid to rest
Straight goosebumps from watching this clip, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Was there any real debate on what goal would be number one? The most important goal in franchise history belongs to Alex Burrows, who slayed the dragon.
A team with Stanley Cup aspirations finally beating their bitter rivals and a legendary call from John Shorthouse will stand the test of time.
The rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks was nasty, hard-fought, and it started during the 2009 playoffs. The Canucks lost in consecutive years to the Blackhawks, and again, questions were being asked about the core’s ability to get the job done. While the two teams squared off once again, but this time in the opening round, Vancouver had the major edge as President Trophy winners.
The Canucks were in cruise control and took a commanding 3-0 series lead and fans were already looking forward to round two. However, the Blackhawks had other plans in mind and stormed back, forcing a game seven.
Tensions were high as 7:00 pm neared, fans anxiously waiting and hoping the Canucks were not about to make history for all the wrong reasons. Burrows scored early and held on to the lead until the final minutes of the third, when Jonathan Toews tied it up.
Overtime beckoned, and thoughts of “what if’s” appeared, as another loss at the hands of the Blackhawks likely meant changes were coming in a big way; however, those thoughts were quickly silenced when Burrows slayed the dragon and for the second time, saved AV (and a few others) jobs.
This, with other top ten lists, will change over time, and number one will undoubtedly be the game-winning goal when this franchise finally gets their hands on Lord Stanley.