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JPat: Playoffs providing Canucks fans moments and memories that have been missing for more than a decade

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
So this must be what the late Jason Botchford meant when he said, ‘Every once in a while, it goes the other way, too.’
In the depths of the darkness of a lost decade for the Vancouver Canucks, Botch knew eventually, the hockey club would find its way out of the wilderness and into the light. And while the Canucks are only five victories into their playoff journey, they have already provided the kinds of memories that have been missing in this market for more than 10 years.
Last night’s stunning comeback to beat the Oilers in the opener of their second round series was just the latest. Already in these playoffs, the Canucks have scored 12 seconds apart to turn Game 1 against Nashville in their favour. They pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in recent Stanley Cup Playoff memory scoring two late goals with the goalie pulled and then winning Game 4 against the Predators in overtime. They got the lone goal in an air-tight series clincher from Pius Suter with less than two minutes to play to dispatch the Preds. Along the way, there’s has been a Brock Boeser hattrick, a salmon coloured shirt that has taken on a life of its own and we’ve all been witness to the rise of the legend of post-season Nikita Zadorov.
And then there was last night. 
Down 4-1 and seemingly out of luck late in the second period, the Canucks mounted their third third period comeback of these playoffs. And they’re only seven games in.
You can see what this means to the players. You can feel what this means in the building and beyond. 
This is how it’s supposed to be. Meaningful games in May have at long last replaced those hollow claims of meaningful games in March. For far too long, that was the low bar that this organization somehow repeatedly fell short of. But this is so much better. This is fun. This is exhilarating. This is the beauty of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And with each twist and turn, it’s a reminder of how much this has been missed in the market for far too long now.
The Vancouver Canucks are creating new memories for their fans on a nightly basis. These aren’t just good wins. Spotting Connor McDavid and the Oilers a three goal lead and then roaring all the way back to win – that’s a game that will stand the test of time. That’s a game people will talk about for years. When Conor Garland got a step on Darnell Nurse and deftly slipped the puck between the pads of Stuart Skinner from a sharp angle for the go-ahead goal and the Canucks first – and only – lead of the night, it not only capped the remarkable comeback but etched a moment in time that a tortured Canucks fan base can and should cling to. 
This is what sports is about. Fans in the building are making a significant financial investment to be a part of it. Thousands more are making the emotional investment to back this team. And this is a fan base that has been through a lot over the years. 
In the big picture, the Vancouver Canucks haven’t won anything yet. But already in seven games this spring, they have served a reminder of how things are supposed to be at this time of year. 
Games with heft. Games that matter. Games fans will carry with them for years to come.
Who knows where it all goes from here? After nights like Wednesday, dare to dream. 
And even if the Oilers roar back to take this series, the Canucks have re-ignited a market and reminded us all what has been missing for far too long – those special moments that only the playoffs can provide.
Friday’s Game 2 can’t get here soon enough.

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