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Ranking the Most Emotional Playoff Series in Canucks History: Part One

Please don’t spill too many tears on this first list.

Dallas Stars v Vancouver Canucks
Goaltender Marty Turco #35 of the Dallas Stars sits dejected on the ice as Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his overtime winning goal during their NHL playoff game at General Motors Place on April 11, 2007 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver scored in the fourth overtime to win the game 5-4.
Photo by Richard Rees/Getty Images

The overlords at SB Nation have tasked us to write on an emotional topic: sports moments that made us cry.

And let’s be real, sports can be emotional. They can bring us feelings of jubilee or they can crush our spirits faster than we can say ay chihuahua.

In the memories of Canucks fans, that tends to be the latter.

Maybe this is just me, I tend to be more emotional with the moments of extreme jubilation in Canucks history. Give me that Burrows goal on repeat and I will cry just a little.

But when they lose, I’m just a grumpy dude rather than a bombastic blogger with tears pouring down his cheeks.

Because of that, this ranking will have a slight bias towards the positive moments being more emotional, although I do want to reflect both the good and the bad in these rankings.

And please, don’t spill too many tears on this first post. This is part one of three as we go through and rank the emotional pull of all 43 playoff series in Canucks history.

43. Broad Street Bullies prevail (1979)

The result: The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 in the Preliminary Round.

What Happened: Ah yes, the old three-game preliminary round. And you thought the 24-team format was hokey.

The Canucks took Game One of this best of three, but Philly took the next two games by a combined score of 13-6.

Emotional Pull: Canucks fans were used to losing over the franchises first decade. One tiny tear out of 10.

42. Swept in two games by the Isles (1976)

The result: The New York Islanders beat the Canucks 2-0 in the Preliminary Round.

What Happened: Another preliminary round loss, this time to the Islanders. This one went down as the shortest playoff series in Canucks history.

Emotional Pull: If you were emotional after a two-game series loss, you need help.

41. Canucks lose first ever playoff series

The result: The Canadiens beat the Canucks in five games during the Quarterfinals

What Happened: The Canucks made the playoffs, yay! But then they were heavily outmatched against Guy Lafleur and the Canadiens.

Emotional Pull: One flower out of 10.

40. Outmatched against Edmonton (1986)

The result: The Canucks were swept 3-0 by the Oilers in the Division Semifinals.

What Happened: Point totals in the regular season heading into the playoffs: Oilers (119), Canucks (59).

Goal totals in the series: Oilers (17), Canucks (4)

Emotional Pull: Did anyone watch this series, or had TV’s been turned off by the time Gretzky scored the Oilers third goal 20 minutes into Game One?

39. Gretzky does it again (1991)

The result: The Kings defeated the Canucks 4-2 in the Division Semifinals.

What Happened: Another terrible Canucks (28-43-9) team faced a better opponent (46-24-10). They did actually take a 2-1 series lead, but then Gretzky and the Kings dominated the Canucks in Games Four through Six.

Emotional Pull: Two Gretzky-induced tears out of ten.

38. Swept by the Mighty Avs (2001)

Canucks v Avalanche X Nieminen
Harold Druken and Ville Nieminen have an, um, intense battle during the 2001 Stanley Cup playofs.
Getty Images

The result: Colorado defeats Vancouver 4-0 in the Quarterfinals.

What Happened: The Canucks were just happy to be back in the playoffs after a four year hiatus, but they were wholly unprepared to face the mighty Avs, who later went on to win the 2001 Stanley Cup

Emotional Pull: Be honest, you were cheering for Burnaby Joe five minutes after this defeat.

37. Canucks Poop the Bed (2007)

The result: Anaheim defeats Vancouver 4-1 in the Semifinals.

What Happened: The Canucks never really stood a chance in this series, as they pooped the bed bigger than Luongo’s overtime dump.

Emotional Pull: The most emotional part of this series was yelling at your TV wondering where the hell Luongo was.

36. Second straight loss to Calgary (1984)

The result: Calgary beat Vancouver 3-1 in the Division Semifinals

What Happened: Remember all of those warm and mushy feeling about the Canucks winning? Well, that had subsided by 1984. Vancouver smoked Calgary 7-0 in Game Three, but lost every other game in the series en route to a quick playoff exit.

Emotional Pull: Well, at least Canucks fans were well accustomed to losing, aside from the 1982 run.

35. Canucks mirage season ends in first round loss (2015)

The result: Calgary defeats Vancouver 4-2 in the First Round.

What Happened: This one might hold more emotion now because it’s been so long since the Canucks were in the playoffs. Game two was also a complete shitshow. Nonetheless, this put the nail in the coffin for the remaining remnants of the Sedin era.

Compared to other series though, it was hard to feel too emotionally attached to this Canucks team, as their terrific regular season felt like something of a mirage.

Nonetheless, don’t say you weren’t emotional watching this.

Emotional Pull: Three Ferkland’s out of 10.

34. Swept by the Sabres. Yup. (1981)

The result: Buffalo defeated Vancouver 3-0 in the Preliminary Round.

What Happened: Yes, it was the preliminary round, but it stings to lose to your expansion rival, especially for the second year in a row.

Emotional Pull: Losing to the Sabres always stings. 3/10

33. Gilbert Perreault leads Buffalo to victory (1980)

The result: Sabres defeat Canucks 2-1 in the Preliminary Round.

What Happened: This was the first of two straight defeats at the hands of the Sabres. To make things worse, Perreault led all Sabres players with five points in four games, including the series winner in Game Four.

Fun fact, Dale Tallon retired from the NHL following the 1979-80 season.

Emotional Pull: Four angry mutters of “Dale Tallon” out of 10.

32. First Four-Game Sweep in Canucks History (2009)

The result: Canucks sweep the Blues in the Quarterfinals.

What Happened: Ah, yes, it only took us (gulp) 11 series losses to get to the first win on our list! Hopefully you haven’t had too many shots of whiskey by this point in our rankings.

This series get our dubious award as the least emotional playoff win in team history. It’s also the only sweep in team history. While there wasn’t much drama, it was finally nice to see the Canucks dominate an opponent full force. Alex Burrows also began to write his playoff legacy with the series winner in overtime of Game Four.

Emotional Pull: Four Alex Burrows grins out of 10.

31. Adams & Canucks Prevail Against Jets (1993)

The result: Canucks beat the Jets 4-2 in the Division Semifinals

What Happened: In this match-up, the Canucks were facing a team they beat a year before in the playoffs. They were also the favourite after winning the Smythe Division and finishing 14 points up on the Jets in the regular season.

Vancouver took a 3-1 series lead, but Winnipeg wont Game Five in overtime. Then, Game Six ended in controversial fashion after a couple questionable goals from Greg Adams.

Sorry Jets fans, but both of those goals counted.

Emotional Pull: With the last two games of the series going to overtime, the emotional impact was there. Still, the Canucks were the better team in the regular season, and this series was never really in doubt.

30. The longest series in Canucks history (2007)

The result: Canucks defeat the Stars 4-3 in the Quarterfinals.

What Happened: Henrik Sedin’s overtime winner will forever be etched in the history books, but this honestly wasn’t the most entertaining series in Canucks history. It was a low scoring affair dominated by the goaltenders. After the Canucks won Game One 5-4, there were only 11 goals scored over the next five games.

It was still an entertaining series from the fact that both teams were neck and neck. The Canucks eventually prevailed, and the emotional pull here was a little greater with 36-year-old Trevor Linden stepping up from bottom-six forward to the team leader in points (5) during the series.

Emotional Pull: Four Trevor Linden goatees out of 10

29. Joe Murphy dominates the Canucks (1992)

The result: Edmonton defeats Vancouver 4-2 in the Semifinals

What Happened: Okay, these losses might start to feel a little more painful.

The Canucks entered the second round as the favourite against the Oilers, something that was surely new for fans. However, they were dominated by one Oilers player: Joe Murphy.

The 24-year-old Murphy had six goals and 11 points in this series, including a crushing Game One overtime winner on the road.

Emotional Pull: The fact that Vancouver was favoured and lost did hurt. They were also a better team than Chicago during the regular season, the team they would have faced in the Conference Finals.

Why did I write this again?

28. Wait, the Canucks are winning all of the sudden? (1982)

The result: Canucks defeat Los Angeles 4-1 in the Semifinals.

What Happened: Round One of the 1982 Stanley Cup playoffs was a monumentous time in Canucks history. Then, they were given a gift for Round Two of the playoffs.

In the opening round the Los Angeles Kings managed to knock off a young yet dangerous Oilers team. That Kings team was 24-41-15 in the regular season and on paper they presented a much easier challenge than the Oilers, who went 48-17-5.

“When we realized we were going to face the Kings, we knew as a group we could beat those guys,” Stan Smyl said in this oral history of the 1982 Cup run.

Denis Brodeur Collection
Richard Brodeur #35 of the Vancouver Canucks poses for a photo in 1982.
Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Nonetheless, the Kings did put up somewhat of a fight, with each of the first four games being decided by one goal. Thankfully, three of those four games went in the Canucks favour, and the won Game Five decisively in a 5-2 victory.

Emotional Pull: This was emotional from the standpoint that the Canucks were all of the sudden, winning playoff series for the first time in franchise history. Although the games were close, the end result wasn’t.

27. End of an era for the 1994 team (1996)

The result: Colorado defeats Vancouver 4-2 in the Quarterfinals.

What Happened: The Canucks were a seventh-seeded team below .500 in the regular season, facing off against an Avalanche team that was second-best in the NHL behind powerhouse Detroit.

Despite the disparity between both teams, the Canucks did make this series interesting. They found themselves in a 2-2 series tie in overtime of Game Five. Of course, Joe Sakic scored the overtime winner that unofficially ended this era of success for the Canucks.

Emotional Pull: Okay, maybe you weren’t quite ready to cheer for Burnaby Joe after this loss, but we were over it by 2001, right?

26. End of an era for the 2011 team (2013)

The result: Sharks swept the Canucks 4-0 in the Quarterfinals.

Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks - Game Four
Head coach Todd McLellan of the San Jose Sharks shakes hands with Henrik Sedin #33, Alexander Edler #23 and Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks after the Sharks defeated the Canucks in overtime of Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 7, 2013 in San Jose, California. The Sharks defeated the Canucks 4-3 to sweep the series 4 games to 0.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What Happened: What a poopy way to end this list but hey, it’s only part one.

In almost a mirror image of the 1996 loss to Colorado, this one hurt. In fact, this one hurt more because A) The Canucks were the better regular season team and should have put up more of a fight an B) They got swept.

Still, both losses signaled ends to different eras.

Emotional Pull: Five tears out of 10 spilled into our beers, crying about 2011.

Are you cried out? If not, stay tuned to parts two and three of this list, out in the coming days.