The Vancouver Canucks have played a total of 69 games this season. Nice.
They were also on pace for their highest point total in five years. Also nice.
The influx of talent on this team has been a breath of fresh air for a fanbase that has suffered through four years of losing hockey. A mix of improving young players and vets acquired via trade came together this year to give Canucks fans their most entertaining content in five years, if not more.
Not to mention, the goaltending was fantastic. You’ll see a lot of love for that on this list.
Here’s our ranking of the top 12 single-game performances from Canucks players this season.
12. Elias Pettersson nets two against Vegas
Sophomore star scores twice against the Vegas Golden Knights on December 19th.
Prior to this time, the Canucks were in a funk. After a piping hot October where they took advantage of a soft schedule to go 8-3-1, the Canucks then went 8-12-3 from November first prior to that game against the Golden Knights.
Vegas beat Vancouver four days before, 6-3 at home. In all likelihood, they should have prolonged the Canucks slump to beat them on Decemeber 19th as well.
The Canucks were outdueled at even-strength, and only the line of Pettersson, Boeser and Miller was doing their part to keep the team a float. Pettersson was a big part of that, with two goals, including a beauty to put the Canucks ahead in the third. He also nailed a shot off the post in the second, coming that close to his second-career hat trick.
Pettersson’s two goals helped the team to an eventual win, which in hindsight was the start of a turnaround where the Canucks won seven in a row and 14 of their next 17.
11. J.T. Miller’s coming out party
Four points against the Los Angeles Kings on October 9th.
Surprisingly, this is Miller’s only inclusion on the list. He had one other four-point game against the Chicago Blackhawks, and two other three point games.
However, his performance against L.A. was really his coming out party with the Canucks. In the team’s home opener, they absolutely pasted the Kings, winning 8-2.
The scoring was fairly spread out among Canucks players on October 9th, but Miller was one of two Canucks with more than one even-strength point. All four of his points that night came at even-strength. This was also Miller’s first game on Pettersson’s line, and Green decisively decided to keep the two together for the rest of the season.
10. Jacob Markstrom wins the free agent showdown
Stopped 32 shots and seven of eight shootout attempts against the Washington Capitals on November 23rd.
Get ready to see Jacob Markstrom’s name a few times more on this list.
However, Markstrom’s first game against the Capitals on October 25th wasn’t as noteworthy. If you recall, that was the game where the Canucks allowed four goals in a span on 7:42. They coughed up their 5-1 lead and eventually lost in a shootout.
Fast-forward to November 23rd, and Markstrom found himself in yet another shootout against the Washington Capitals. This time it was a goaltending duel instead of a goal-fest, with both Markstrom and Braden Holtby making 33 saves after regulation and overtime.
The goaltending duel continued into the shootout, where both goalies were solid. That was until the eighth round of shooters, where Josh Leivo finally buried the winner for Vancouver.
In the battle of incoming free agent goalies, Markstrom got the nod over Holtby.
9. Markstrom stops third period barrage against Rangers
38 saves in a 3-2 road win against New York on October 20th.
Based on his performance in the third period alone, I feel like I should be giving this performance more respect.
On the second-day of back-to-back morning contests, the Canucks looked surprisingly sharp against the Rangers. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and continued to pummel the Rangers with chances in the second.
However, their foot slipped off the gas pedal in the third period, leaving the team’s fate in the hands of Markstrom. The Rangers had 17 scoring chances in the third period alone, whereas the Canucks had only five. After Artemi Panarin scored five minutes into the final frame, Markstrom only had a one goal lead to work with.
Somehow, he managed to shut the door, helping the Canucks cling on to a 3-2 win.
8. Captain Bo dominates Chicago
Horvat scores twice, has three points in 7-5 win over Chicago on January 2nd.
While I was tempted to include Horvat’s first career hat trick on this list, that game against the Red Wings was largely forgettable aside from Bo’s two power play markers early in the third.
His performance against the Chicago however, was his best of the season. He was the best Canucks player in this back and forth affair, leading the team in Corsi-For and Goals-For at even-strength. He set up J.T. Miller’s goal in the first period, and scored two of his own in the third to help the Canucks win one of their most exciting games of the season.
7. Markstrom stymies angry Kings
49 saves against Los Angeles on December 28th.
You may have watched this game and wondered how the hell Vancouver was on a three-game winning streak, but at least we were all treated to another edition of the Markstrom show.
Perhaps the Kings were frustrated with their futility against the Canucks to this point in the season, after losing by a combined score in 13-5 in the other two contests.
They were the better team throughout the contest. The Canucks only won after Pettersson scored the winner 19 seconds after Toffoli’s tying goal in the third, and of course, because of Markstrom’s show-stopping performance.
6. Pearson posts points at all strengths
Two goals, four points against the Edmonton Oilers on November 30th.
Yeah Pearson’s four points was great and all, but remember that this was also Loui Eriksson’s first point of the season (in his 15th game).
Anyways, Pearson had himself a night against the Oilers here. By the end of the first period, he had a power play assist and a shorthanded goal. He would add another goal and and another assist (on Eriksson’s marker) in the second period to help lead the Canucks to a 5-2 win.
Any time you can register points at all strengths AND help get Eriksson on the scoresheet, you know you’re gonna get some love from the Canucks faithful.
5. The best game of Thatcher Demko’s NHL career...so far
Demko makes 36 saves against St. Louis on January 27th.
Once again, this was another game the Canucks probably deserved to lose, except for the fact that they had the better goaltender.
This time, it was Demko, not Markstrom, who shut the door.
Zach Sanford scored early, but Demko was magnificent following that marker. That included one of the saves of the year that he made off of Jaden Schwartz in the third period.
The Canucks were outshot 21-10 over the final two periods, but two goals from Miller was all they needed, as Demko made marvelous saves the rest of the way.
4. Boeser nets third career hat trick against L.A.
Sniper has four points in 5-3 win against Los Angeles on October 30th.
The 5-3 score on this night flattered the Kings, who were once again dominated by the Canucks.
This time, it was the power play which victimized them. The Canucks went four for six on the power play, with Boeser netting two of those goals.
His second power play goal of the game ended up being his hat trick goal, giving him three hatty’s early on in his career. Pettersson also had four points on this night, with Hughes posting three assists himself.
3. Hughes scores overtime winner on Long Island
Rookie has first two-goal game versus the New York Islanders on February 1st.
There were a lot of standout moments from Hughes’ rookie season in the NHL, but none were arguably greater than his performance against the Islanders.
The Canucks weren’t at their best against the Islanders during another dreadful morning game, but Hughes was all over the place. Hughes, Tanev, and Gaudette were the only Canucks who ended up with positive possession numbers by the end of the game, but it’s the timely goals from Hughes which earn him a spot on this list.
He scored his first of the game in the second period to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead. They didn’t relinquish that lead until giving up the game-tying goal with 26 seconds left in regulation.
That set the stage for Hughes to score the biggest of his NHL career so far.
2. Markstrom sparkles in shutout win against Carolina
Canucks netminder had 43 saves in the victory on December 12th.
Markstrom doesn’t post shutouts very often but when he does, it’s usually in dramatic fashion.
That was certainly the case against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 12th. Where the Canucks didn’t really even show up until the third period.
After two periods, Markstrom had already made 30 saves, with the Canucks being outshot 30-12. The Canucks netminder continued to make mind-boggling saves the rest of the way, before Pettersson finally finished the game in overtime.
1. Markstrom steals spotlight on Sedin night
Emotional Sedin retirement night ends in 49-save shutout win for Markstrom on February 12th.
Nevermind the best single-game performances of the season, this was the best regular season performance from a goaltender in Canucks history.
Right off the bat, it felt like it was going to be one of those games for Markstrom. The Canucks were being outshot 10-0 just minutes into the game. Somehow, thanks to Markstrom’s brilliance and timely goals from Horvat and Adam Gaudette, the Canucks had a 2-0 lead after two periods.
Despite facing an enormous amount of pressure, Markstrom made zero mistakes on his way to a 49-save shutout. It was by far, the best performance from a Canucks player this season.