Yesterday, we began our countdown of the 10 best games of the Canucks regular season. The bottom half of the list fondly remembered top-notch tilts with the Flames, Blackhawks, Stars, Lightning, and Blue Jackets, five games that yielded some classic and/or hilarious moments, and some great entertainment overall. Today, we round out the top five, examining the best of the Canucks’ season series with a perennial powerhouse, a surprise blowout, and a nail-biter in Southern California.

 

5 December 28, 2010: Canucks 6, Flyers 2

As 2010 drew to a close, the Flyers and the Canucks were on top of their respective conferences and running neck-and-neck for the NHL lead. As a result, this match was initially billed as a potential Stanley Cup preview. Most people thought both teams would put on a clinic. Instead, only Vancouver did. The Canucks controlled this game for the full sixty minutes, peppering the Flyers net with 49 shots, and scoring six times on some filthy, filthy plays, including a beautiful bit of patience from Alex Burrows, Jeff Tambellini’s last-ever NHL goal (potentially), and Ryan Kesler’s classic skee-ball goal.

4 December 22, 2010: Canucks 4, Red Wings 5 (OT)

The Canucks may not have won every game in a rout like they did in the season series with Dallas, but one could argue that the season series with Detroit was still better. Every game was close, there were lead changes galore, the tempo was ridiculously high, and the two teams played such similar systems that, at times, the game was like watching synchronized swimming. Even Detroit’s goals were gorgeous. Take, for instance, the opening goal in this game, scored by Dan Cleary. If you can’t get behind Brian Rafalski’s outlet pass, it’s your loss. That’s quality. There are only two things keeping this game from being higher on the list: one, the overall beauty was slightly diminished when Pavel Datstyuk broke his hand, and two, the Canucks lost in overtime.

3 November 6, 2010: Canucks 6, Red Wings 4

They won this one, however. Like number four on our list, this game was simply a hockey’s lover’s dream. The two teams played hockey like it had been choreographed by Jerome Robbins. There were four lead changes. The game had huge goals, such as Manny Malhotra’s lovely shorthanded breakaway marker. It had big hits, such as Andrew Alberts levelling Pavel Datsyuk. It also featured one of the Canucks’ best third periods of the season: after allowing the Red Wings to break a 3-3 tie only two minutes in, they took the game over, tying the game on a Jannik Hansen goal, then taking the lead for good with two well-executed powerplays.

2 February 4, 2011: Canucks 4, Blackhawks 3

The last matchup of the Canucks’ third-best season series saw Vancouver and Chicago play their most even, most entertaining game yet. Blowouts and shutouts are one thing, but a crisp, uptempo nail-biter will win out every time. This game also featured some of Christian Ehrhoff’s best moments: first, his opening goal, on a slapshot at the blueline, which led to Ryan Kesler burning him on a high five. Second, the original appearance of the flail snail, Christian Ehrhoff’s rage-induced alter ego. Finally, this game had maybe the clutchest of clutch goals the Canucks scored this season, when the Sedins combined for the game-winner on a beautiful give-and-go that bounced over Marty Turco’s shoulder.

1 March 10, 2011: Canucks 5, Sharks 4 (SO)

I’m proud to say I attended the best game of the year, a glorious battle between the Canucks and the Sharks that took place during that successful five-game Southern California road trip. It was intense. After the Canucks jumped out to a two-goal lead to end the first, the Sharks came out hard in the second, needing only 2:04 to tie the game. The Canucks would retake the lead only three minutes later, and they would hold it, too, until everything went crazy in the game’s final two minutes. First, Torrey Mitchell tied the game on an end-to-end rush. Then, the Canucks took the lead less than thirty seconds later on a Daniel Sedin powerplay goal. Then, with twenty seconds to go, the Sharks would tie the game on a powerplay of their own, sending it to overtime, and eventually, the shootout. It was superbly played hockey throughout, but you can’t beat an ending like that.

 

::: 10 – 6 :::

::: 5 – 1 :::

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6 comments

  1. Alan
    July 11, 2011

    For the second best game, Turco was the goaltender, not Corey Crawford. Aside from that, I agree with the first choice, was the most frustrating and entertaining regular season game of the 2010-2011 season. And thanks for keeping up with the Canucks news for the summer. Love you guys.

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  2. Matt Cottingham
    July 11, 2011

    That San Jose game was the most entertaining hockey game I ever remember watching The only game that beat it this year was Game 7 Chicago, but that was far too nerve-racking which is why I don’t consider it as entertaining. Excellent list. Loved reliving it all.

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  3. Evian
    July 11, 2011

    Game #3 … November 6, 2011? Are you predicting the future?!

    That being said, great list. I agree with you, the Red Wing games were absolutely amazing to watch.

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  4. DanD
    July 11, 2011

    What a great reminder that the Canucks, when they’re on their game, are a beautiful team to watch. It really was an enjoyable season. Although I’m sure your top 10 worst games list will throw us all into fits of despair.

    Also, there’s nothing like Alex Burrows doing the patented Alex Burrows Backhand (TM) move to win the shootout. Go Canucks!

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  5. Wisp
    July 11, 2011

    That first game against the Red Wings was when I first realized “Holy shit, we have three lines.”

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  6. Cathylu
    July 11, 2011

    I so agree with your number one pick! My husband and I were at that game also. That was my first time in the Shark Tank – the noise was incredible. I was so proud of Cory. Total excitement!

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