The top 50 Vancouver Canucks goals of 2011 (10-1)

If you have been following this series all week, you may be wondering how there could possibly be 10 Canucks goals from 2011 that are better than the 40 we have seen already. We’ve seen Henrik Sedin pass the puck through a goaltender, Lee Sweatt score his first (and only) NHL goal in his first NHL game, and Ryan Kesler use a new stick from the bench both to score and to assist.

But just when you think you’ve seen everything, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You’re about to see goals scored in ways that don’t seem possible, goals scored by the unlikeliest of heroes to win big games, and goals that don’t make a dang bit of sense. It was an incredible year for incredible goals.

As always, big thanks to CanucksHD on YouTube for so conscientiously uploading Canucks highlights. The Canucks blogosphere wouldn’t be the same without you.

10 Henrik Sedin (December 19, 2011)

The first goal in our top 10 is from just last week: Matt Cullen gets a partial breakaway shorthanded for the Minnesota Wild, but doesn’t account for Alex Edler’s remarkable reach, as the stylish Swede sweeps away the puck with a picture perfect pokecheck. The Sedins head back in the other direction, but the Wild think there’s nothing to worry about as they’re on completely opposite sides of the ice from each other. Big mistake! The Sedins perfectly execute the slowest and longest give-and-go in NHL history. See here for more on this goal.

9 Maxim Lapierre (June 10, 2011)

After two disastrous games in Boston, the Canucks returned to Vancouver for Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final, where we were witness to a brilliant goaltending battle between Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas. It seemed like it would take a brilliant play from the Sedins to solve Thomas and break the deadlock; instead, it was pest extraordinaire Maxim Lapierre set up by a brilliant bank pass from the point by Kevin Bieksa. He intentionally shoots the puck wide, sending it off the boards behind the net right onto the tape of Lapierre, who tops it off with the greatest goal celebration of the year.

8 Raffi Torres (June 01, 2011)

My favourite thing about this goal is that it brilliantly demonstrates what each of the three players involved are best at. Kesler makes a move that is pure effort and determination, tipping the puck past Johnny Boychuk and desperately dragging his back foot to stay onside, Jannik Hansen receives the pass from Kesler and looks off the shot to make a cheeky pass to Raffi Torres who skates really hard, directs the puck into the open net, and (I assume) makes a goofy face. Raffi Torres, of all people, scored the gamewinner in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final with 19 seconds remaining.

7 Alex Burrows (March 29, 2011)

The passes from Daniel and Henrik on this goal are insane. As we pointed out in the I Watched This Game, “this is a no-look bank pass to a one-timed no-look backhand saucer pass to a mid-air one-timer.” The amount of skill it takes to put that sequence of events together is staggering and the Sedins (and Burrows) make it look effortless. This is Wizardous Sedinerie of the highest order, but it’s done with such restraint that it almost goes unnoticed.

6 Kevin Bieksa (May 24, 2011)

To quote Cory Schneider, “Waioooough! Woo! Wooooohoohooo! Woo! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! Oh man. Wooooo! What just happened, I have no idea?” So say we all, Cory, so say we all.

5 Henrik Sedin (January 20, 2011)

Many players use the move that Forsberg made famous in the shootout. Henrik Sedin, however, busts it out at full speed during regulation time. It’s likely the prettiest goal Henrik will ever score and what makes it possible is Daniel’s clever tactic of cutting across the blueline as soon as he gains the zone, slowing down his defender and allowing Henrik to blow by at top speed. Most hockey players try to back down defenders with speed; the Sedins draw in the defenders with slowness.

4 Henrik Sedin (February 19, 2011)

This is one of those situations where there should be three assists: Yann Sauve deserved to get his first NHL point with the sheer effort he made to knock down Brenden Morrow and dive out to poke the puck free for Daniel to go in on a 3-on-1 with Burrows and Henrik. Of course, expecting the Sedins and Burrows to make just one pass while on a 3-on-1 is pure folly. The puck goes from Daniel to Burrows to Daniel to Henrik to the net in under 2 seconds. The final insult: Sauve went off on a change just before the puck went in, so he didn’t even get a plus-1 for his plus/minus.

3 Alex Burrows (June 4, 2011)

It seems oddly appropriate that all three gamewinning goals for the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final were from players deemed villains by the opposition: Lapierre, Torres, and Burrows. If Rome only received a three-game suspension, it seems entirely likely that he would have scored the gamewinner in Game Seven.

In Game Two, it took just 11 seconds of overtime for Burrows to win the game, freezing Tim Thomas with a fake slapshot, then out-battling and out-reaching the massive Zdeno Chara to score on the wrap-around. Burrows made a Vezina winning goaltender and a Norris winning defenceman look absolutely silly and there are still people in the media who think he’s just an agitator who just happens to be lucky enough to play with the Sedins.

2 Ryan Kesler (May 5, 2011)

This is simply a phenomenal goal, as Kesler activates beast mode and barrels right through two Nashville defencemen to score the gamewinning goal in Game Four of Round Two. One of those defencemen is Shane O’Brien, but the other is Shea Weber, a finalist for the Norris Trophy. The goal was impressive enough to make Puck Daddy’s Top 10 goals of the year, though their list should be taken with a grain of salt: not a single Sedin goal? Really? In any case, this goal is ridiculous.

1 Alex Burrows (April 26, 2011)

He slayed the dragon.

50 – 41  |  40 – 31  |  30 – 21  |  20 – 11  |  10 – 1

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21 comments

  1. Zach Morris
    December 30, 2011

    We knew we were going to be in for some stress, playing against our hated rival, Chicago.
    We had a chance to avenge our past defeats.
    We had a chance to slay the dragon three times, and we lost three times.
    It all came down to game seven.
    Toews (evil, evil, Toews) set the stage with a shorthhanded goal, sending the series to overtime.

    We thought it was going to be a long night. We dreaded thinking what would happen if we lost.
    And then…
    “Kane…Campoli missed the puck. Ryan Johnson just gets it out. Hamhuis dumps the puck back in, Campoli trying to clear it!”
    The whole province of British Columbia gasped.
    “Burrows-”
    Everyone starts to think, “Ohhhhh?”
    “shoots!”
    Collective intake of breath
    “SCOOOOORES!!!”
    THE FANS GO CRAZY, BURROWS IS BURIED, THE GUY WHO OPERATES THE GOAL HORN IN ROGERS ARENA GOES CRAZY!
    GILLIS AND GILMAN ARE HUGGING EACH OTHER!
    Toews looks his normal serious self.
    THE BENCH IS HUGGING EACH OTHER, VIGNEAULT IS PATTING SOME GUY’S LEG, BURROWS IS INVISIBLE UNDER A PILE OF HIS TEAMMATES!
    We did it!
    “Wow. Alex Burrows started it, had so many chances to seal it, and they’ve finally won it, sudden death overtime. Finally, after three seasons, and nineteen playoff games against Chicago, in Vancouver, it’s a wonderful day for an exorcism!”

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    • Nee
      December 30, 2011

      Yep, that about sums it up!

      It may have only been the 1st round, but if we had lost that game, I shudder to think of what would have happened. Trades? Firings? At the very least, a devastated team, and an even more devastated fan base. You don’t get over that kind of black mark for a long, long time. And certainly, the Canucks would have been infamous for an epic choke job.

      FYI: not trying to dump on the team, just addressing opposing (Hawks) fans criticism that we place too much significance on the Burr goal.

      So yeah, it was a pretty big deal.

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  2. Schneider's Teeth
    December 30, 2011

    I was in the arena for #9. Damn that was crazy. I really can’t wait for the playoffs.

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    • By-Tor
      December 30, 2011

      So was I! What a great game it was!

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  3. SteveB
    December 30, 2011

    “1 Alex Burrows (April 26, 2011)

    He slayed the dragon.”

    Yes.

    That is a goal that I’ll remember until my dying day.

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  4. DubiousRhino
    December 30, 2011

    After going through this whole list, and reading the Canucks Army post about Burrows yesterday, I’ve come to realize just how good a player Alex Burrows really is. It was summed up nicely in the Canucks Army post: He’s not the most skilled, the biggest, or the toughest, but dammit if he doesn’t outwork everyone on the ice.

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  5. Donna Suico
    December 30, 2011

    re: #3 goal by Alex Burrows – maybe that is the very reason they made sure to suspend Romer for the entire series…to make sure he doesn’t get the GWG for Canucks in the Finals…
    and was there really any other goal deserving of the top spot…so many candidates, but none as great as “the one that slew the dragon”…
    been looking forward to this post since Monday…great job, PITB! cheers to another year of great Wizardous Sedinerie, Beast-mode goals & speedy villainy in 2012! happy new year to all!

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  6. natevk
    December 30, 2011

    The Superman-Puckgrab-Blackhawk-Down goal will forever be one of my all-time favourites!

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  7. BeCanucks
    December 30, 2011

    I prefer the Shorthouse call on the Burrows one against the Hawks…
    But my gosh, what a team! Thank you for taking the time to assemble such beauties!

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  8. tom selleck's moustache
    December 30, 2011

    It was so bittersweet watching these goals for me;. I’m still pissed to all heck from losing the cup final, especially to such a bunch of goons and hooligans, and watching these goals did bring back some of those memories. But it was nice to be reminded of the highs that we did get to experience leading up to Game 7; it really was such an incredible run with some really wonderful moments.

    Gaahhh! Please let this be the year!

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  9. Jason
    December 30, 2011

    God I love watching #1. I think I’m going to name my firstborn Alex.

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  10. Biggie
    December 30, 2011

    Chills on that Burrows Chicago goal. Every time.

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  11. CJ
    December 30, 2011

    Ah, all top 50 so memorable. Brings a smile on my face! 2011 is definitely a special year.

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  12. iLovePITB
    December 30, 2011

    Ahh, this brings back memories. Hahaha, oh my, on number 3, watch around the 13 second mark. Oreskovich runs his ass off to get in the group hug.

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  13. Rituro
    December 30, 2011

    There was really no doubt about how 3-2-1 would shake down, was there? Those gems are up there with Bure & Linden vs. the Flames and “Greg Adams, Greg Adams” with the all-time great playoff goals. What a list.

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  14. Ginger
    December 30, 2011

    I was watching the infamous Chicago game 7 at work online. At the end of the 3rd when the Canucks were ahead by one my supervisor came over and said “You know Chicago will score.” Toews scored. She disappeared for a while. The entire intermission was torture, and when OT started I was a mess. There were 4 people watching over my shoulder when Burrows scored. I leapt up cheering, crying, swearing and started dancing around like an idiot. My supervisor reappeared to offer her congratulations, and admitted she was scared she’d jinxed them.
    I also get chills every time I watch that goal. What a list. I LOVE THIS TEAM. I look forward to another spring of stress, panic, joy, crying and rage… and hopefully it will end right for the good guys.

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  15. By-Tor
    December 30, 2011

    There is only one goal that can top the Dragon Slayer, and it has yet to be scored. Perhaps we will see it this spring?

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    • Zach Morris
      December 30, 2011

      there is no perhaps.

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  16. Cathylu
    December 30, 2011

    I agree with Tom Selleck’s Mustache (great name, by the way). Bittersweet is the correct word. It brings a few tears to the eyes – some of joy – but some because we know what the future brings. Last season was amazing, and hope springs eternal so I’m hoping we have a chance to do it again this spring. Thanks PITB.

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  17. Melissa
    December 31, 2011

    Two of the three most memorable goals, at least for me, are nos. 1 and 6 (mainly cause I didn’t see them as I was as nervous as anything!) from 2011. My other memorable goal: Greg Adams scoring on Potvan in 1994.

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  18. Daniel W.
    December 31, 2011

    I have to commend Jin Hughson for the commentary on Burrows’ goal! Sometimes you have to let the scenes speak for themselves, I’ve heard a lot of commentators ruin scenes like this one by insisting on talking….

    Oh, nice list BTW :D

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