Undiscovered hero Luongo of the 2011 Canucks defeated the Blackhawks


VANCOUVER – The second most famous goal in the history of the Vancouver Canucks is almost as famous as the first, which shows how memorable it was when Alex Burrows scored in overtime in Game 7 to kill the Blackhawks of Chicago in 2011.

The Canucks’ only bigger goal in the past 50 years has been Pavel Bure’s overtime winner in Game 7 against the Calgary Flames at the same stadium in the 1994 Stanley Cup tournament.

But while the people who watched this game over a quarter of a century ago can’t talk about Bure deking Mike Vernon without also mentioning Canucks goalkeeper Kirk McLean stacking his pads against Robert Reichel in OT – by far the most famous stop by a Vancouver goalkeeper – Not enough said about Roberto Luongo’s stun against Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp about four and a half minutes before Burrows steals the puck from Chris Campoli and slaps a fist ball in front of Corey Crawford.

And if neither that save nor that marker had occurred, residents of the west coast would still lament Vancouver’s inability to prevent a tying goal from Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in the final minutes of regular time – “AS CANUCKS WERE ON THE POWER GAME! “

Really, there has never been an incredible eight minute run for the Canucks than the events that arguably ended the greatest playoff streak Vancouver faced when it finally finished the Blackhawks in 2011.

This incomparable Game 7 is rebroadcast by Sportsnet Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT.

“I think the series had pretty much everything you could ask for: emotional ups and downs, adversity, momentum changes,” said Canucks winger Jannik Hansen. Sportsnet. “Whenever a streak lasts seven games and it’s decided in overtime … well, when you are little and you play street hockey with your friends or whatever, you never win a playoff in five games and take the deciding game 6-2. You win it in game 7 in overtime. This is what everyone dreams of. “

“Unreal,” said Canucks star Daniel Sedin. “We won this series, and everyone relaxed because we couldn’t experience something more nerve-wracking than what we just went through. “

The Canucks were 11-5 in their next 16 playoff games in the spring before losing the final two games to the Boston Bruins. The Game 7 win over the Blackhawks turned out to be the happiest moment in the National Hockey League’s best season that Vancouver has ever known.

When Chicago defender, workhorse Duncan Keith, received a penalty for hanging on Burrows at 16:43 of the third period with Vancouver leading 1-0, the Canucks were heading into the second round. They had beaten a 3-0 lead against their enemy Blackhawks, but they would eventually defeat the Stanley Cup champions.

Scoring a goal in game seven with 3:17 left at home at Rogers Arena and power play, what could go wrong?

“The coaches have decided not to shut down the regular unit on power play,” said Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis. “Kevin (Bieksa) and I were there to be a little more defensively responsible. Toews came down and there is a reason why he was known as “Captain Clutch”. his stomach. It was a stomach ache feeling after they scored. “

Toews crushed Marian Hossa’s rebound in front of Luongo to tie 1-1 with 1:56 left after Burrows’ neutral hitting allowed the Blackhawks to attack 2 against 4.

“Toews skated on our bench with the puck and he just had that look in his eyes,” said former Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness. “You just knew this guy was not going to be turned down. It was unreal. Of all the memories of my career, this is one of the most vivid. It was an incredible goal, an incredible individual effort from an incredible hockey player. “

Hamhuis and Bieksa were caught on their opposite sides and although Hamhuis knocked Toews down with his hip, the Blackhawk still managed to get Hossa behind the puck behind Bieksa.

“I know Burr somehow escaped, but it didn’t really seem like we were in danger,” said winger Chris Higgins. “But they score and it’s like: S – t. . . are you kidding me? What just happened? “

“It was surreal,” said Hansen. “We played an almost perfect match. We took the lead, we played safely during the second half of the match. We get a late power play. Just keep it safe and let time go by. Lou plays a hell of a game. We just have to end this thing. And then somehow they find a way to score a shorthanded goal and you ask yourself, “How did we get there?” We’re 3-0 in the streak, we’re in game seven and we also find a way to throw that away. »»

After only 24 seconds of overtime, Burrows imposed a retention penalty on Keith.

Chicago’s power play helped bring the Blackhawks back to the series, scoring six times in the 3-5 games. And it looked like he was going to win game 7 when Toews passed the puck around Bieksa, who had gone on the ice, leaving Sharp with a wonderful chance of a backdoor in the bottom slot and half the net open.

“I watched this game over and over and in part my fault, in part it was a very good game from Toews,” said Bieksa. “All of our pre-screening video showed that when (Patrick) Kane put the puck on the half wall on a power play and threw it at Toews, he whipped the puck on the net (at an acute angle). And sometimes he catches the goalkeeper off guard and it goes down low, sometimes it creates a bounce for the guy coming in. We knew it. So the first time they go down to Toews, I slip. He tries to throw it hard at Lou’s feet, but I block him. Then they are reset, moving it to Kane, again to Toews. Now I’m too early. He sees me and holds it, holds it, then walks around me and walks into Sharp’s back door. And I think …, he just played me. All I think is: please Lou, please Lou. “

“Cross-fold, Chicago has done this so many times,” said Hansen. ” It’s finish. “

This was not the case. Luongo pushed his post so powerfully, moving from left to right, that he was square to Sharp when the puck hit the sniper’s stick.

“First of all, you know the Chicago power play and Sharpie has always been on this side for the self-timer,” Luongo told Elliotte Friedman in SportsnetThe 2010-11 Canucks Oral History. “As Toews passed, I tried to intercept it with my stick, but I failed. It was a little too far from me. So in a situation like that, I always practice what François Allaire taught me when I was a child. When you swipe, always swipe to your posts. I didn’t mean to slide up the fold. You always want to slide to your message, and it was only instinct. Technically, I was in a good position, and he shot where my body was. “

Sharp recently said The Athletic, “I really didn’t feel like I had the game on my stick, to be honest. I just pulled it as hard as I could, and Luongo put his blocker on it. It was a big backup. “

There hasn’t been a Canuck since.

“Patrick Sharp had roughly an empty overtime advantage and Lou saved him,” said Sedin, still sounding a little incredulous nine years later. “Sharp puts it in nine times out of 10. When it happened, I think,” OK, let’s win this for Lou and for ourselves. “”

Hansen said, “All of these games are kind of a blur. From this game, I don’t remember Burr’s first goal, I don’t remember Chicago’s goal as much. But I remember Lou’s backup. And I remember Burr’s second goal. “

Four minutes and 33 seconds after Luongo saved the Canucks, Burrows buried the Blackhawks at 5:22 a.m. with the famous goal we recently talked about here.

“It was one of the greatest moments of my career – the excitement you felt and the relief,” said Bowness. “Alain (trainer Vigneault) and I look at ourselves when we leave for these overtime hours and we both knew: we are losing this, and we are finished. He said, “OK, we better get this out or we’re done. “Oh my god, we did. “

“I quickly crossed Burr’s threshold,” said Higgins. “It was just pure emotion. It was years of frustration. Years. Being beaten by the same team? The guys are very proud. Guys are training all summer with this thought in mind. When the fans are at the beach, the guys are in the weight room with this one concentration. These losses in the past are fuel. For the pain and suffering we went through to have a moment like this, it was pure emotion. It was awesome. “

“Now that they have had some difficult years there, you look back and see how much we have done it – with people and with talent,” said Bowness. “It’s the people who do it. We didn’t do the job (against Boston), but, my God, we had a great team with great people. “


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