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Canucks.com writer Derek Jory has begun to celebrate 40 years of the game we love and Vancouver Canucks hockey with a countdown of his Top 40 Moments in franchise history.

Top Moments 40-31 - Top Moments 30-21 - Top Moments 20-11 - Top Moments 10-1

Check Canucks.com every day from now until the first game of the 2010-11 season on October 9th, exactly 40 days away, as we reveal another classic Canucks moment that has helped shape this franchise into what it is today.

#30 - Levesque to the rescue

December 9, 2003

You knew this would make the list. It had to out of sheer quirkiness. After starting keeper Dan Cloutier injured his groin during the morning skate prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canucks were left scrambling for a back-up to Johan Hedberg. With the Manitoba Moose too far away to help, Vancouver turned to UBC Thunderbirds goalie Chris Levesque. The then 23-year-old received an exemption from the CIS to backup Hedberg, but after Hedberg collided with Konstantin Koltsov in the first period, it looked like Levesque would have to play. Fortunately Hedberg wasn’t injured and he backed Vancouver to a 4-3 overtime win off four Markus Naslund goals. Levesque works as a sous chef in Vancouver.

#29 - Burrows gets a chance

March 27, 2006

Staying with the theme of unknown players, that’s just what Alex Burrows was before the Canucks gave him a chance when no one else would. After being passed over in the NHL draft, Burrows suited up for the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL, but he didn’t toil in the minor, minor, minor leagues long. Burrows put up 73 points in 64 games with the ECHL’s Columbia Inferno a year later and that was enough to land him a contract with the Manitoba Moose. Fast forward to 2005-06 and Burr split the season between Manitoba and Vancouver, latching on with the Canucks and never looking back in the second half of the year. Fans knew he was the real deal when he lit up the LA Kings up for his first career NHL hat trick in just his 34th pro game.

#28 - Cooke monster cashes in

April 19, 2004

This was one of the rare instances when the end didn’t justify the means. In Game 7 of the 2004 Western Conference Quarter-Final, the Canucks had their backs against the wall. Trailing 2-1 and looking for the tying goal on the man advantage, Vancouver’s Ed Jovanovski was assessed a soft high-sticking penalty. The Canucks pulled their keeper to keep it 5-on-4 and with 10.7 seconds remaining, Vancouver entered the Calgary zone. You just knew they were going to score. And they did. Markus Naslund cut in on goal and after his backhand was thwarted, Matt Cooke was there to hack it in with 5.7 seconds left as Jovanovski went bananas in the sin bin. Shame the Canucks couldn’t hold on for the win, losing 3-2 in overtime.

#27 - The trade

June 23, 2006

If you’re a true Canucks fan, the name Mike Keenan is a swear word. There was no other way to feel about the New York Rangers coach after his team beat the Canucks in seven games in the 1993-94 Stanley Cup Final. Mike Keenan! Then, miraculously and in one bold move, Kennan did the Canucks a favour. As general manager of the Florida Panthers, Keenan traded Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth round pick (Sergei Shirokov) to Vancouver in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld. Thank you Mr. Keenan, thank you verrrrrry much. While Krajicek is long gone and Shirokov is still a work in progress, Luongo has won 115 games over four season to sit second all-time; he’s first in franchise history in goals against, save percentage and shutouts.

#26 - Tiger goes for a ride

December 10, 1980

The first time Tiger Williams was traded, it was to the Canucks. He didn’t want to leave his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, but he quickly realized he had a home in Vancouver. Upon his return to Maple Leaf Gardens one chilly December night, Williams scored and rebelliously hopped on his stick for a celebratory glide down the ice. His teammates loved it, the Leafs not so much. In Williams’ first season in Vancouver he scored a career-high 35 goals and led the NHL in penalty minutes with 343. Tiger’s stick ride is still being copied to this day, albeit not as gracefully as the man himself. Check it out. Did you know: Williams was nicknamed Tiger by his minor hockey coach when he was five. Thanks Wikipedia.

#25 - Quarrel in Quebec

March 20, 1982

Leave it to Tiger Williams to start the mother of all fights. Late in a 3-3 game against the Quebec Nordiques, things started to get ugly following a collision between Williams and Peter Stastny. From there things escalated quickly as Wilf Paiement pinned Williams against the glass and within reach of a fan, who took a swipe at Tiger. Canucks coach Harry Neale didn’t take kindly to his player being abused by a spectator and he subsequently leapt across the bench to have a go at the fan. Pandemonium ensued. For his involvement in the altercation, Neale was given a 10 game suspension opening the door for assistant coach Roger Neilson to take over his role permanently and guide the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final that season.

#24 - West Coast Express


This line had it all: speed and hands, size and grit, and quickness and smarts. They went by the names of Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison and for four seasons they menaced the NHL with such perfected chemistry they could have played blindfolded. The trio’s play peaked during 2002-03 when each recorded career-highs in goals, assists and points, a near impossible feat never before accomplished by a Canucks threesome. Naslund (48-56-104) finished second in league scoring behind Peter Forsberg, Bertuzzi (46-51-97) placed fifth, while Morrison (25-46-71) finished 26th. The line was disassembled when Bertuzzi was traded to Florida after the 2005-06 season – see #27 - The trade.

#23 - McLean's donuts

May 20 & May 22, 1994

It was east versus west to represent the west versus the east in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. Confused? Canucks fans were too when the Toronto Maple Leafs thought they had a chance to slowing down Vancouver en route to the Stanley Cup. In an all-Canadian Western Conference Final, the Canucks and Leafs were even at a game a piece before Kirk McLean shut the door. Captain Kirk recorded back-to-back shutouts to pave the way for a Greg Adams, Greg Adams, Greg Adams goal in Game 5 that sent the Canucks to the final. McLean’s first donut came in a 4-0 win in Game 3, it was his third shutout of the post-season and he carried the momentum into a Game 4 shutout, this time a 2-0 blanking. McLean's shutout streak lasted a total of 143 minutes and 17 seconds.

#22 - Smyl to the rafters

November 3, 1991

It’s a wonder the Canucks were even able to draft Stan Smyl. The skilled, feisty, hard-nosed forward was coming off back-to-back Memorial Cup Championships heading into the 1978 NHL draft and The Hockey News had him rated at sixteenth overall. Smyl fell to 40th, which is where Vancouver nabbed him. What a steal. Steamer was the unquestioned heart and soul of the Canucks during his playing days as he turned skeptics into believers by establishing team records for games played (896), goals (262), assists (411) and points (673). Smyl captained the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1982; he served as captain from 1982-1990. Upon retiring in summer of 1991, Smyl’s #12 was raised to the rafters at the Pacific Coliseum becoming the first jersey retired in franchise history.

#21 - Shutout streak x 2

November 25-29, 2007 & November 4-8, 2008

When Roberto Luongo is in the zone, there’s no beating him. That’s not just a figure of speech, there’s actually no scoring on him. In late November 2007, Chicago, Anaheim and Columbus found out as much. Luongo shutout all three teams consecutively making 79 saves; his shutout streak stretched into a game against the Minnesota Wild before it was eventually stopped at 210:34, the longest streak in franchise history. Leave it to Luongo to top himself. The following season, Luongo was at it again establishing a new record of 242:36 making 81 stops in three games against Nashville, Phoenix and Minnesota before  Colorado finally snuck a puck past him. Luongo holds the franchise record for shutouts with 24.