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.Alex Burrows, Blogs are for lists, Wizardous Sedinerie, year-end retrospective