Canucks’ Top 5 Games of the 2021-22 Season

The 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks season was full of exciting comebacks, a late-season playoff push and, of course, a major leadership change in the organization. Fans saw players like Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko and Elias Pettersson take their games to new levels while also witnessing J.T. Miller almost eclipse 100 points. While there were many memories from the past campaign, here are the top five games from the season.

5. Dec. 4, 2021, vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Although the Canucks lost 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 4, it may have been the most important game of the season. Vancouver was headed for their 15th loss in their first 25 games when, with 1.6 seconds remaining in the game, a fan threw a jersey onto the ice. This was a sign that the fans had had enough and were signaling something needed to change.

The outcome was sweeping changes across the organization, with head coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning being fired. The Canucks brought in Jim Rutherford, Patrick Alvin, Cammi Granato, Émilie Castonguay and Derek Clancey to run the front office while hiring Bruce Boudreau as the new coach and led Vancouver to a 32-15-10 record the rest of the season. Although some may not agree with the act of tossing a jersey on the ice, it got ownership’s attention and led to an exciting late-season push for the playoffs.

4. Oct. 23, 2021, vs. Seattle Kraken

In the first-ever meeting between these Pacific Northwest rivals, the Canucks spoiled the Seattle Kraken’s first-ever home game with a 4-2 victory. Although it could be argued that the Canucks were outplayed in the game, they found a way to pull out the victory thanks to a two-goal night from Bo Horvat and a 29 save effort from Demko. This game was also just the second time in the first six games of the season the team did not allow a goal while shorthanded.

Related: Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken: The Next Great NHL Rivalry

The game was tied 2-2 late when, with under five minutes left, Connor Garland scored the game-winner. After the puck was missed at the blue line by Vince Dunn, he picked up the puck in the Kraken’s zone and beat Philipp Grubauer with a fake slap shot. This was just the start as the Canucks were perfect vs. the Kraken this season. The beginning of the season was hard to watch at points, but this win in Seattle got Canucks fans fired up as they drew first blood in the rivalry.

3. Feb. 24, 2022, vs. Calgary Flames

This game had everything. The Canucks destroying a rival, a shorthanded goal, a penalty shot and of course, the black skate jersey. On Feb. 23, Vancouver demolished Calgary 7-1 at home in what may have been the most fun game of the season. Not only did the team dominate on the scoresheet, but they also wore what may be the best jerseys in the NHL as they broke out their famous black skate jerseys that were used when they eliminated Calgary in Game 7 of the 1994 playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup appearance.

Thatcher Demko Vancouver Canucks
Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

During the game, three different Canucks players registered two-goal nights. What was cool about the goals is that no player scored their two goals the same way. Horvat scored one on the power play and one at even strength; Miller scored a power-play goal and one on a penalty shot, while Pettersson had a power-play goal and a shorthanded one. The Canucks went perfect throughout the season when wearing the black skate, which is proof they should wear them more in the future.

2. Dec 14, 2022, vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Canucks had won their fourth straight game since the hiring of Boudreau coming into their home matchup vs. Columbus. The mood in Vancouver was starting to change around the team after their poor start, and fans had started to believe maybe this team could push for a playoff spot. A lot of that mood changed after the first period of this game.

Related: Canucks Need Bruce Boudreau for the 2022-23 Season

The Blue Jackets came out hot, scoring three goals in the first period. Many fans saw this as “here we go again,” as the Canucks were notorious for starting the game slow and not being able to come back. This game was different, however, as Vancouver scored one in the second and three in the third, including the game-winner on the power play with less than a minute left to win the game 4-3. The Canucks never gave up, and this win told fans this team was ready to fight till the end to try and make the playoffs.

1. Apr. 6, 2022, vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Late in the season, the Canucks needed a win in Vegas to keep their playoff hopes alive. Vancouver had never beaten Vegas in regulations during the regular season coming into this game and were coming off an overtime loss to the Golden Knights just a few nights prior. The Canucks gave up the first goal of the game but scored five unanswered and left Sin City with their first-ever regular-season regulation victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Pettersson stole the show, scoring twice and recording two assists in the victory. As usual, Demko stood on his head, making 33 saves for the victory. Why this win was so special is that, not only did it keep the Canucks in the playoff race, but it also helped prevent Vegas from making the playoffs. There is a strong rivalry between these two teams that has leaned heavily in the way of the Golden Knights, so to finally beat them in their home arena was euphoria to Canucks fans.

Canucks 2021-22 Season Was Fun ‘Til The End

Although the Canucks did not make the playoffs, it was a fun ride regardless. Fans saw the core of this come together, and there is more optimism now with the new front office group in place. The hope is that Vancouver can build off their success late in the season and transition it into a fast start and successful season in 2022-23.

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