The Most Important Goals of the 2011 Playoffs for the Vancouver Canucks

Sean LarsonContributor IIIJuly 7, 2011

The Most Important Goals of the 2011 Playoffs for the Vancouver Canucks

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    The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs were a magical two months for Canucks fans. During those two months we saw some magical goals.

    From Kevin Bieksa's freak goal that only he saw coming in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Sharks to Alex Burrows wrapping around the back of the net to win Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Canucks' run to the final was full of magical moments.

    While the season may not have ended how Canucks fans had wanted, there are plenty of great moments to look back on.

    Countless times throughout the playoffs, different Canucks came up with goals when it mattered most.

    So let's look back at the most important goals from the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Vancouver Canucks.

Honorable Mentions

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    Mikael Samuelsson vs. Blackhawks (Game 3)

    Mikael Samuelsson scored the go-ahead goal in the third period of Game 3 against the Blackhawks that would give Vancouver a 3-0 series lead. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was out of position after a rebound attempt by Daniel Sedin, and Samuelsson took advantage of the opportunity. We'll choose to block out the memory of the next three games of the series though.

    Daniel Sedin vs. Predators (Game 6)

    The last thing the Canucks needed was another Game 7. Daniel Sedin made sure that didn't happen. At 9:28 in the 1st period, Sedin slapped in a rebound goal to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead. That would be all the goals that they would need. Vancouver would go on to win the game 2-1, eliminating the Predators, and advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

    Henrik Sedin vs. Sharks (Game 1)

    Coming out on top of the opening game of the Western Conference Finals was essential for Vancouver. That's exactly what they did with Henrik Sedin's go-ahead goal in the 3rd period of Game 1 against the Sharks. Christian Ehrhoff sent in a beautiful pass to Sedin in front of the net. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi dropped to the ground in anticipation of a shot but Sedin cut across the crease, scoring a backhanded goal at 8:21, giving the Canucks the lead they would need to win Game 1.

    Alex Burrows vs. Bruins (Game 2)

    Just under eight minutes into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Alex Burrows took another bite out of Boston. But this player, he did the biting with his stick, scoring the first goal of the game. While Vancouver might not have kept the lead this goal provided, it gave the Bruins quite the headache. What if the NHL had taken action against Burrows for his bite during Game 1? The league didn't choose to take any action against Burrows, and what did he do to thank the league for letting him play? He scored two goals and added one assist, with the second goal being an overtime game-winner to give Vancouver a 2-0 series lead going to Boston.

7. Round 2, Game 3: Ryan Kesler Overtime Game-Winner vs. Predators

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    Overtime in the playoffs is probably the most stressful thing a sports fan can go through. For 30 to 45 minutes, a fan will be tortured, knowing one mistake could spell disaster and a loss for their team.

    Ryan Kesler made sure he would end the torture for Canucks fans as he tipped in a goal just over halfway through the first overtime of Game 3 in Nashville.

    It had originally appeared that Mikael Samuelsson had scored the winning goal, but a replay revealed that Kesler tipped the puck in right in front of the net.

    This goal would give the Canucks a 2-1 series lead. Vancouver would go on to win this series, but Nashville wouldn't go down without a fight. It took the Canucks six games to eliminate the Predators.

    This goal comes in at No. 7 on the list. While it was a game-winning goal, it was during Game 3 of the second round, so even if the Canucks had lost this game, they probably still would have had the same outcome with reaching the Stanley Cup Final.

6. Round 4, Game 2: Daniel Sedin Scores Tying Goal Against Bruins

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    There are two things that we are forever grateful to Sweden for; Ikea, and the Sedin twins.

    Vancouver wanted to make a statement early on in the Stanley Cup Final by going up 2-0. Although trailing in the 3rd period of Game 2, Vancouver remained calm, taking smart shots, and would be rewarded for their patience.

    With about ten and a half minutes remaining in the final period, Alex Edler fired a shot on goal from the blue line. It deflected off Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who fell to the ground quickly after.

    That was all Daniel Sedin needed. He rebounded the shot, and waited for the perfect moment as he went top shelf to tie the game at 2.

    This goal comes in at No. 6 on the list. It was a big momentum shift for Vancouver, but it was early on in the series, so it wasn't as important as some other goals you're about to see.

5. Round 4, Game 2: Burrows Bites Bruins, Wins It in Overtime for Canucks

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    Thanks to his Game 1 shenanigans, Alex Burrows has forever provided journalists with witty headlines for his performances from here on out.

    So I'll keep up the tradition, by saying that Burrows took quite the bite out of Boston with his overtime wrap-around goal, cleverly dubbed, "The Burraparound" by a Canucks fan in a popular YouTube series.

    This goal happened so fast, if you went to the fridge to grab a drink for the overtime, you would have missed the goal. That is unless you could have grabbed the drink in 10 seconds or less.

    Burrows scored the goal just 11 seconds into the first overtime. He was in perfect position to receive a pass from Daniel Sedin, and then charged at the overly-agressive Tim Thomas, who came out probably over six feet in front of the net.

    He didn't get a shot off at first, but that wouldn't matter. Tim Thomas had made the mistake of diving after the puck. He missed, and the puck bounced of the boards, and all Burrows needed to do was reach around and tap it in, which is exactly what he did.

    This goal happened so fast that CBC hadn't even removed their spiffy little graphic to tell you the game was being broadcast in HD.

    This goal comes in at No. 5 because it gave Vancouver a solid 2-0 series lead as they left for Boston.

4. Round 4, Game 5: Maxim Lapierre Ends Vancouver Scoring Drought

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    As we know in sports, all streaks must come to an end.

    That is exactly what happened to Tim Thomas during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Going into the third period, Thomas hadn't allowed a goal in over 107 minutes. That was all about to change.

    Kevin Bieksa took a shot from the blue line which went wide of the net. Turns out that is exactly what he needed to do. Thomas' body went towards where he shot it, and away from where the puck was going.

    That left Maxim Lapierre with a huge opening to score the first goal for Vancouver since the third period of Game 3.

    Lapierre's reaction summed it all up. Stick in the air, high knees, dancing on the ice. He, like many Canucks fans, was probably just ecstatic to finally see the puck go into the net.

    This goal comes in at No. 4 for being the deciding goal in the swing game of the Stanley Cup Final.

3. Round 4, Game 1: Raffi Torres Scores with 19 Seconds Left to Prevent Overtime

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    Sometimes in hockey, as hopeful you want to be that your team will score a thrilling last second goal, sometimes it's best just to wait for overtime.

    Yeah, try telling Raffi Torres that. He wasn't about to let the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final head to overtime.

    With 19 seconds left in Game 1, Raffi Torres positioned himself perfectly and scored to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. The Bruins, who were probably already mentally preparing for overtime, had no answer, and the Canucks would win Game 1 in dramatic fashion.

    This goal comes in at No. 3, and was the most important goal of the Stanley Cup Final for the Canucks in my mind. This goal got the Canucks off and running on the right foot for the series.

2. Round 3, Game 5: Kevin Bieksa Puts Canucks in Stanley Cup with Freak Goal

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    The only person who saw this goal coming was Kevin Bieksa. Why? Because he is the one who shot the puck.

    In what was easily the most bizarre goal of the playoffs, Kevin Bieksa propelled the Canucks into the Stanley Cup Final with a blue line shot that stayed low to the ground and sneaked right by San Jose goalie Antti Niemi.

    During this play, Niemi was experiencing the most helpless feeling a goalie can encounter during the game by not having any idea where the puck was. As he frantically looked around, he had no idea that the puck was bouncing right towards him.

    You have to give Bieksa some credit on this play. He probably didn't intend to score, but with the help of a "lost" puck, and some precise shooting, Bieksa sent the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994.

    It's pretty clear why this goal is so high up on the list. But what could be better than a double-overtime goal to send the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final?

1. Round 1, Game 7: Alex Burrows Sends Vancouver to Conference Semi-Finals

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    How is a goal in the conference quarterfinals bigger than a goal to send a team to its first Stanley Cup in 17 years you ask? When the goal eliminates a team that has done the same to you the past two seasons, that's how.

    Alex Burrows buried the Canucks playoff demons with an aggressive breakaway goal in the first overtime of Game 7 against the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. How he did it was almost more impressive than the goal itself.

    Chris Campoli of the Blackhawks tried to clear the puck, but Burrows was right there, and literally snatched it out of the air. He dropped the puck, charged toward rookie goalie Corey Crawford, and fired.

    When the goal went in, and the horn sounded, it was party time in Vancouver. The opponent who had been haunting them had finally been defeated.

    I rank this goal as the most important goal of the playoffs for the Canucks for that reason. The Canucks didn't just advance to the next round with this goal. They had buried playoff nightmares that had been haunting them for two long years.