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Goals Make Goal Songs

Dakota Joshua is congratulated by his teammates after scoring
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks' goal song is "Don't You (Forget About Me)." I hate this song. I'm bored by its mumbled, repetitive chorus. I'm unenthused by its vague lyrics. And every time I hear it played somewhere in public I feel more resentful of the stranglehold that '80s adolescences continue to hold on pop culture. This distaste extended to the otherwise lovable Canucks as they won their division for the first time since 2013 to make their first non-bubble playoffs since 2015. Guys like Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, and J.T. Miller kept making plays to cue the song, and because music is like steroids for your memory, it was tough to think of one without the other.

Goal songs really do matter, and the playoffs prove why it's smart for teams to have one consistent choice (and none of that personalized-for-each-player crap). When the Rangers score at Madison Square Garden, that big "whoa-oh-oh" is like a gale-force wind converging on the rink. When the Predators score in Nashville, the Tim McGraw hook into the “Hey … YOU SUCK!” chants tells a story about the community of hockey fans in Tennessee who've bonded together over the past couple of decades.

Critically, what these two hymns have in common is that they've both been used on long playoff runs, when the home atmosphere is at its best. The Canucks, on the other hand, haven't hosted a postseason crowd in far too long. They welcomed their first of what they hope will be many on Sunday night versus the Preds, and despite a lackluster start that put them down 2-1 in the middle of the third, a sudden rally on Juuse Saros completely reversed their fortunes and sealed a 1-0 series lead. First, a forceful shot from long-range by Hughes wobbled off the stick of Pius Suter and into the net. Then the Canucks won the ensuing faceoff and pushed the puck down to the end boards, where Conor Garland made a pass from behind the goalie to an open Dakota Joshua—one of the team's breakout overachievers. It's almost impossible to determine where the first goal celebration stopped and where the second one began, but the ecstasy lasted all the way through Joshua's empty-netter and the final horn on the 4-2 victory.

Despite my personal taste, the Simple Minds song, and specifically that wordless outro, fit the moment flawlessly, backing the fans' loud shouts that seemed to linger long after the puck dropped again. (It was tricky to tell for sure amid the overwhelming noise of the final minute, but I definitely thought I heard more singing. Or maybe it was just stuck in my head.) The lesson being, a goal song doesn't gain any value by being "good." Its importance lies in the fact that it's the song that follows a goal. The Canucks didn't need some loud bombastic anthem to enjoy a playoff comeback. They just needed the goals.

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