This day in Vancouver sports history is a significant one and while you may wonder why exactly that is, April 13 1989 is the day the Vancouver Canucks upset the Calgary Flames 6-3 at The Pacific Coliseum.
It was another David and Goliath matchup in the post season this time against the Canucks Smythe Division rival the Calgary Flames. The Flames finished the 1988-9 season at 54-17-9, while the Canucks were 33-39-8.
How Did the Vancouver Canucks Get There
Pat Quinn had come to the Canucks as President and General Manager and Bob McCammon as Coach at the start of the 1987-888 season.
The Canucks had made a splash at the 1988 Entry Draft selecting 2nd overall. They took Medicine Hat Tiger Trevor Linden a player whose influence can still be felt in Vancouver.
Linden had 30 goals his rookie season. By drafting Linden, Quinn was making moves to make this team a respectable one something it had really lacked since being a Cup Finalist back in 1982.
Quinn had already added Kirk McLean and Greg Adams to this team prior this season, trading Patrick Sundstrom a popular and prolific player from the mid 1980’s.
Pat Quinn also got Paul Reinhart in the off season and it helped boost the Canucks defence with Reinhart getting 57 points in 64 games.
The 1989 Smythe Division Semi Final
The Canucks headed to Calgary for Game One and came away with a win in overtime. Calgary produced an uninspired effort losing 4–3 with former Flame Paul Reinhart scored the winner for Vancouver.
Games Two and Three belonged to Calgary winning by a combined score of 9-2. The Canucks won Game 4 5-3 on the back of a four point game from Trevor Linden, who had one goal and added three assists.
Game Five was another drubbing by the Flames as they won 4-0 and outshot the Canucks 40-18. It was not looking good for Vancouver who really would need a miracle in order to have any hope of coming back in this series.
Good Friday Was Good To The Canucks
With the series now 3-2 Calgary, the teams came back to Vancouver on Good Friday which was also Friday April 13th.
This game for me stands out as one of the defining moments as to why I became a Canucks fan and why I still am.
The Canucks would get four second period goals against Mike Vernon and the Calgary Flames to take Game Six. It was honestly the first time the Canucks had really had any significant playoff success or something to cheer about since their magical run of 1982.
Game Seven In Calgary
You likely don’t need a reminder if you are longtime Canucks fan of what happened in Game Seven in Calgary.
The Calgary Flames won in Overtime. It was a goal that was surrounded in some controversy when Flames player Joel Otto won the game in the final minute of the first overtime period.
The puck deflected in off his foot as he stood in the Canucks’ crease.
It was a heartbreaking end to a series and for a team like the Canucks that staked a serious claim against a powerful opponent like the Flames.
The Calgary Flames would win the 1988-89 season’s Stanley Cup as they were predicted to. But the Canucks came oh so close to making serious fools out of the oddsmakers.