July 13, 2013

1994 Vancouver Canucks: Be-Leaf It Or Not

The following is an excerpt from my unreleased book: Remembering The 1994 Vancouver Canucks. Please see below for the full table of contents.

Many Canuck fans - and for that matter, many of the players - believe the victory over Toronto was the biggest highlight of the entire Cup run. In a sense it was a battle for the unofficial Canadian championship if you will.

Game one would go to the hometown Leafs. A 3-2 victory came in overtime. The loss was a disappointment to the Canucks as they had really been coming on as the game got later, and the rust wore off from their long break.

But the Canucks would return the favor in game two. The Canucks would edge out the "Buds" with a 4-3 victory.

The Canucks would return to Vancouver once again for the next three games. Kirk McLean, who already had two shutouts, cranked his game up yet another notch. Games 3 and 4 were both convincing Canuck victories, and Captain Kirk didn't surrender a goal in either game! Game 3 was won 4-0 while game 4 featured a 2-0 final score. The back-to-back shutouts gave Kirk 4 shutouts in the post-season, tying an NHL record for shutouts in one playoff year. The record, shared by 7 other goalies, was first set back in 1926!

Game 5 was played in Vancouver with a chance for the Canucks to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals while on home ice. And that is exactly what they did. The game was close and went into overtime tied at 3. But Nelson British Columbia's Greg Adams snuck the puck past fallen Leaf netminder Felix Potvin to win the game and win the series.

Many think of this series and this win as the real highlight of the Canucks magical run. The all Canadian showdown between Toronto and Vancouver and the excitement generated by the victory. But the Canucks had to regroup and refocus as they still had more hockey to play. This time, they were going for the Stanley Cup!

“Greg Adams! Greg Adams! Adams gets the winner! The Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Final!”

It never gets old.

The Canucks had to wait to see who would be their opponent in the Finals. The New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers series was dragged out to overtime in game 7 in a very close and very physical series.

The series highlight was a game 6 victory by the Rangers. Mark Messier proclaimed boldly before the game that they would win, and Mess went on to score a hat trick leading the Rangers to victory. In game 7 big Stephane Matteau would score in overtime to give the first place Rangers the right to meet the Canucks in the Finals. The Blueshirts were going after their first Cup in 54 years. The Canucks were going after their first Cup ever!

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