Manny Malhotra was not signed by the Canucks to provide offense, instead taking over the defensive duties of Ryan Kesler, enabling Kesler to stop doing Selke-related activities and focus on offense. This, of course, led to Kesler winning the Selke award as he scored 41 goals. Observations pointing out that this makes no sense whatsoever and that the Selke award is nearly nonsensical at this point are welcomed, but will change nothing.
Even though Malhotra started an incredible 75% of his shifts in the defensive zone, leading the NHL, he managed to finish fifth on the Canucks in fewest goals against per 60 minutes while facing the toughest competition of all Canucks forwards. Oh yeah, and he managed to score 11 goals while doing all of this. In his five previous seasons, Manny averaged 11 goals, 19 assists, and 30 points. This season, he hit those averages dead on, while playing in a far more defensive role. It was an incredibly impressive season that ended in an agonizing what-if, as the Canucks playoff run could have been a completely different story if Malhotra wasn’t struck down by an errant puck in March.
Manny’s first goal of the season comes off a beautiful pass from Alex Edler that is grossly mis-played by Jose Theodore, who is expecting a shot instead. We at PITB have long held the belief that Edler is the most underrated passer on the team, and this is a fine example of his pinpoint accuracy.
Manny’s second goal of the season comes in the same game, as the third line of Malhotra, Hansen, and Torres dominated the Wild. Hansen makes a very Henrik-ian move, stopping just inside the blue line on a rush to create space between himself and his defender. Malhotra, on the other hand, buries his head and skates hard to the net. Hansen’s saucer pass eludes Martin Havlat, and Malhotra deftly kicks the puck up to his stick for the finish.
This is Manny’s prettiest goal of the season, and it’s only appropriate that it was scored shorthanded. His dogged pursuit of Pavel Datsyuk leads to an uncharacteristic turnover by the Russian. Malhotra’s fake shot freezes Jimmy Howard before a quick backhand-forehand deke finishes the job. This just wasn’t Datsyuk’s night: it’s the same game that he got levelled by Andrew Alberts.
Malhotra’s second goal of the game isn’t quite as pretty as his first, but it gets the job done. After some great work along the boards by Mikael Samuelsson and Aaron Rome on the powerplay (sigh), the puck finds Mason Raymond who actually keeps his head up and sees Manny at the side of the net. His pass is tipped by a Detroit defenseman, but Malhotra manages to bat in the rebound while falling down. It’s his second of three two-goal games on the season.
Over a month later, Malhotra scored his fifth of the season, again on the powerplay. This time, Samuelsson gains the zone while head-faking like a Butabi brother. His subsequent shot from the point is tipped by Malhotra past Dan Ellis.
This goal bears a vague resemblance to his first goal of the season, as Torres passes it up the boards to the point, the puck is directed towards the net, and Malhotra chips it in. The difference is that the man at the point is Christian Ehrhoff, who is clearly shooting, not passing. Malhotra’s tip is incredibly impressive, as he reaches in front of Matt Carle to redirect the puck past Brian “The Mighty Boosh” Boucher.
Another tip, but this one comes from much further out. After winning the faceoff, Malhotra barely moves from the faceoff dot before tipping the Sami Salo point shot past Niklas Backstrom. With the top two centres manning the first unit, Malhotra ended up on the second unit powerplay essentially by default. He only had 3 goals, but that tied with Torres for first amongst Canucks on the second unit because of how much time the first unit spent on the ice.
The forecheck from the third line causes chaos, as Torres, Hansen, and Malhotra all end up below the goal line before the puck is kicked out front by Hansen and Malhotra sweeps it past Ty Conklin.
Malhotra shows some intense determination on this goal, lifting the rebound up over Tim Thomas on the backhand while being buried by Dennis Seidenberg. It was the only goal the Canucks could get past Thomas in this game, foreshadowing their struggles in the playoffs.
Just 42 seconds in, Andreas Lilja makes the disastrous decision to pinch up the boards on Torres despite having no chance whatsoever at getting to him in time to do anything worthwhile. Torres immediately springs Hansen and Malhotra on a 2-on-1. Hansen is clearly thinking pass the entire time (seeing as he’s such a playmaker) and Malhotra rifles the one-timer top corner.
In the same game, a mere 17 seconds into the second period, Malhotra scores again. And again, it comes off a pretty pass from Hansen, who beats everyone to a loose puck at the side of the net and slips a backhand feed to the waiting Malhotra. The Honda Center erupts like it’s a home game, as thousands of Canucks fans (PITB included) made the trip down the coast to see the Canucks defeat the Ducks.
Tags: Every Goal 10-11, featured, Malhotra, Manny Malhotra, spotlight