Canucks vs. Predators: Looking at notable Game 6s in Canucks history

Friday’s game in Nashville is almost 13 years to the day that they won a Game 6 there to clinch a second-round series, with Ryan Kesler leading the way.

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The Vancouver Canucks have history on their side when they take on the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Friday at Bridgestone Arena.

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One of the biggest Game 6 victories ever for the Canucks took place in that Nashville rink nearly 13 years ago to the day, with Vancouver scoring a 2-1 win over the Predators on May 9, 2011, to clinch their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal set.

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Ryan Kesler led the way, setting up goals by Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin, and helping kill off five Predator power plays through the first two periods. 

The Canucks had a 3-1 lead in that series, too, and lost 4-3 at home two days before to send the series back to Nashville.

You know the rest of that story. The Canucks ousted the San Jose Sharks in five games in the conference finals, with Kevin Bieksa and a stanchion sealing the series. Vancouver then lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Here’s a look at five other notable Game 6s for the Canucks.

April 13, 1989: 6-3 win at home over the Calgary Flames in the first round

Rich Sutter had two goals and Garth Butcher and Brian Bradley each supplied one goal and one assist as Vancouver took regular season league champion Calgary the distance in their best-of-seven opening round set. 

The Flames had finished 43 points in front of Vancouver. 

“They’ve battled us all year. We’re not surprised it’s going seven games,” Calgary coach Terry Crisp told reporters after that Game 6. “It’s you guys in the media who are surprised.”

Calgary won Game 7 at home, nabbing a 4-3 decision in overtime on a Joel Otto goal off his skate that draws ire from Canucks fans to this day.

The Flames won the Stanley Cup that year, losing three games in the next three series combined, or the same number they lost to Vancouver in Round 1.

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April 28, 1994: 3-2 OT win at home over Calgary in the first round.

Trevor Linden’s power-play marker at 16:43 of the first extra session pushed the series to a Game 7, and was the middle of three straight OT wins for the Canucks. Geoff Courtnall had the deciding goal in extra time in a 2-1 triumph in Game 5, and Pavel Bure bagged the double-OT series clincher in a 4-3 victory in Game 7, bringing the Canucks all the way back from a 3-1 series deficit.

The Canucks went to the Stanley Cup Final that spring, and that probably draws ire from Flames fans to this day. 

June 11, 1994: 4-1 win at home over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

The game featured arguably the best-known call of play-by-play Jim Robson’s iconic career, with Robson belting out, “He will play. You know he’ll play. He’ll play on crutches. He will play, and he will play at Madison Garden on Tuesday night,” after Linden was sideswiped twice in the waning moments by Rangers. 

Vancouver trailed 3-1 in the series, but couldn’t pull off the comeback like they did against Calgary. They fell 3-2 in Game 7 in New York.

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June 13, 2011: 5-2 loss on the road to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

Reader discretion is advised from here on for diehard fans. This remains testy territory for some.

Vancouver had momentum in the series, after going up 3-2 with a 1-0 win in Game 5. The Bruins quickly took control back, scoring three times in the first 8:35 of Game 6 and cruising to victory.

They won Game 7 in Vancouver by a 4-0 count. We’ll move on now.

Aug. 21, 2020: 6-2 win in the Edmonton bubble over the St. Louis Blues in the first round.

Tyler Motte’s two goals helped Vancouver clinch the series and move on to play the Vegas Golden Knights.

It was a neutral site and rink without fans during the COVID pandemic, but the Blues were still the reigning Stanley Cup champions, and prior to that season Vancouver hadn’t been in the playoffs since 2015. The Canucks, who defeated the Minnesota Wild in the qualifying round just to get to face the Blues, lost to Vegas in seven games in the second round.

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