The Vancouver Canucks were in Game 7 in the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, facing off against their archrivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks had tormented the Canucks for the past two years, defeating them in the second round of the 2009 and 2010 playoffs in six games both times.
But this year was different for the Canucks. They won the Presidents’ Trophy for having the best record in the regular season, while Chicago barely snuck into the playoffs and found themselves pitted against the top-seeded Canucks in the first round.
The series started off well, as the Canucks took a commanding 3–0 lead. However, Vancouver was blown out in Games 4 and 5, and Chicago won Game 6 in overtime to send the series to Game 7. “Here we go again,” was the mindset of every Canucks fan.
Early in the first period, Alex Burrows scored a one-timer off a great pass from Ryan Kesler to give the Canucks an early 1–0 lead. However, for the remainder of regulation, Chicago’s rookie goaltender Corey Crawford stood on his head to keep his team within one. With three minutes and 17 seconds left in regulation, Chicago took a penalty. It looked like the Canucks would have a great chance at getting the insurance marker, or at the very least, they would be able to take two minutes off the clock.
In typical fashion, though, that isn’t what happened. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored shorthanded to take the game to overtime.
The stage was set for the best regular season in Canucks history to end in the first round, especially with Burrows taking a penalty early in overtime. With the man advantage, Toews set up a perfect centring pass for Patrick Sharp right in front of the crease, but Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo slid across to make the save.
Around five minutes into overtime, Chicago defenseman Chris Campoli made what looked to be a routine breakout pass, but it was intercepted by Burrows. He walked into the slot and fired a shot over the right shoulder of Crawford to win the game for Vancouver. The Canucks bench all came onto the ice to mob Burrows.
Towels were waving across the stands of Rogers Arena. “Finally,” CBC commentator Jim Hughson exclaimed. “After three seasons and 19 playoff games against Chicago, for Vancouver, it’s a wonderful day for an exorcism.”