The iPod Nano. Flip phones. MySpace. Blockbuster. Green Day. Eminem. Ah yes, the 2000s.
In the case of the Vancouver Canucks, what comes to mind for the era known as “the aughts”?
Well, the greatest line in Canucks history, the West Coast Express for sure. Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and Brendan Morrison terrorized top D-pairs across the NHL from 2002-2006.
Also, the franchise-altering trade for Roberto Luongo and the emergence of the Sedins as the Canucks number-one guys served as a nice precursor to the most dominant Canucks teams in their history soon after the decade ended.
With that being said, here are the unofficial top 10 Canucks games of the 2000s.
10. 2002, January 23 at Stars
The West Coast Express’s 1st Act. With the Canucks coming into this game sitting at 22-24-4-1, head coach Marc Crawford needed to do something to shake up a team that had much more potential than their record would suggest. So, he decided to put Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and Brendan Morrison on a line together to hopefully form some chemistry. Well, I’d say it worked. While the line put up a respectable 5 points in a 4-2 win in Dallas, it was only the beginning for the “West Coast Express”. They’d go onto become the most iconic top line in team history while producing countless highlight reel plays for four seasons.
9. 2003, December 9 vs. Penguins
Vintage Nazzy. Yes, the Canucks were playing one of the worst teams of the decade in the pre-Crosby/Malkin Pens, and yes they only eked out a 4-3 win in OT. However, this was possibly the best individual single-game performance from the player of the decade for Vancouver, Markus Naslund, which is why it makes it onto the list. Naslund scored all 4 Vancouver goals in an all-world performance. Need I say more?
8. 2007, November 29 vs. Blue Jackets
LOUUUUU! There wasn’t much good to remember out of the 2007-08 season after the Canucks collapsed out of the playoffs down the stretch. Early in the year, however, when things were still running smoothly Roberto Luongo gave Canucks fans one of the greatest goaltending stretches in team history. Including a 2-0 win over Chicago and a 4-0 win over Anaheim prior to this 2-0 victory, Bobby Lou stopped 79 out of 79 total shots in the 3 wins. When he was on his game, there hasn’t been a better goalie in franchise history.
7. 2009, 1st Round, Game 4 vs. Blues
Sweep! Next, we’ll go with the game that completed the Canucks’ first sweep in franchise history, as the Canucks won 3-2 late in the 1st OT to knock off the Blues. This was easily Alex Burrows’ 2nd most memorable series winning goal, we all know what the other one was. Also, Bobby Lou stopped 47 of 49 shots in this one for Vancouver, as we all know when he was on his game in the playoffs he was ON.
6. 2009, February 3 vs. Hurricanes
The Game that Saved the Season. Quite simply this was the game that turned around the Canucks 2008-09 season. Coming into game #51 of the season losing 8 games in a row, things had to be figured out fast or else the spiral would’ve continued, likely costing AV his job many seasons too early. Cue the Dragon Slayer, Alexandre Burrows. Burr scored a miraculous shorthanded goal to give the Canucks a 4-3 with about a minute left, which sparked a 23-7-2 season-ending run, winning Vancouver the Northwest Division.
5. 2001, April 5 vs. Kings
Harold Druken. After going through one of the darkest periods in team history with 5 seasons out of the playoffs, the Canucks sat a point behind the 8th and final Western Conference playoff spot before game #81. Cue the journeyman from Newfoundland. Druken scored to tie the game in the 3rd period before giving the Canucks the extra point they needed to clinch a playoff spot in overtime, starting a run of four straight seasons in the playoffs.
4. 2004, 1st Round, Game 6 vs. Flames
“The Silencer”-Chris Cuthbert. Maybe the most nerve-wracking game of the decade for the Canucks, as their backs were against the wall going into a hostile environment in Calgary for Game 6 down 3-2 in the series. Halfway through the 2nd period, Vancouver led the Flames 4-0. Over right? Wrong. The Flames roared back with 4 goals of their own to send the game to overtime. Not just one overtime. Not even two. It took three overtimes with the game ending on Brendan Morrison’s biggest goal as a Canuck to win the game 5-4. That was exhausting to write.
3. 2007, 1st Round Game 7 vs. Stars
Linden’s Last Dance. The surprising Canucks of 06-07 blew through the second half of the regular season to a division title on the back of Roberto Luongo’s Hart-worthy season and AV’s masterful first year behind the bench. The strong play continued through the first 4 games of the series, as the Canucks led the sixth-seeded Stars 3-1. However, the Canucks failed to win and even score a goal in the next two games, setting up a Game 7 at GM Place. The game was tied 1-1 going into the 3rd, when Trevor Linden scored his last playoff goal in his legendary Canucks career to take the lead. Roberto Luongo would then rob Stu Barnes of a goal to preserve the lead, as Vancouver added 2 empty netters to win their first playoff series in 4 years.
2. 2003, 1st Round Game 7 vs. Blues
Comeback Completed. The 2002-03 Canucks were probably the most complete team of the decade, with the West Coast Express at their peak and a defensive corps led by Ed Jovanovski and Mattias Ohlund. Not to mention a veteran Trevor Linden and the young Sedins, this team was flat out legit. However, they struggled out of the gate in the playoffs, spotting the St. Louis Blues a 3-1 lead in their 1st round series. There was a little fight back in these Canucks though, as 5-3 and 4-3 wins in Game 5 and Game 6 set up a Game 7 showdown. Although they trailed 1-0 early in the game, they roared to control with goals from Henrik Sedin, Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, and Trevor Linden, giving the Canucks a 4-1 victory. This was only the 2nd time in team history they’ve erased a 3-1 lead in a series.
- 2007, 1st Round Game 1 vs. Stars
The Game that Wouldn’t End. While this was only a Game 1, it probably goes down as one of the NHL games of the 2000s as well. In Roberto Luongo’s first career playoff game, he put up a performance for the ages. Although it started a little shaky in a game that was tied 4-4 going into OT, he finished with 72 saves in a 5-4 win for Vancouver in 4! Overtimes. The 72 saves is one shy of the all-time playoff record for saves in a single game. Oh and better yet, the Sedins combined for the overtime winner in what was their first bona-fide legendary playoff moment. If that’s not the game of the decade I don’t know what is.