The return of Daniel Sedin on Wednesday was expected to have a trickle-down effect on the Canucks lineup, but Alain Vigneault wasn’t content to just put things back the way they were. He put David Booth, who had just one goal in his last 14 games, with the twins, and put Dan Hamhuis on the point of the powerplay instead of returning Sami Salo to his usual spot.
Both turned out to be good decisions: Booth picked up the primary assist on Kevin Bieksa’s game-winning goal by using his speed to back off the defence, giving Bieksa plenty of room to shoot, and Hamhuis set up Alex Edler on the opening goal on the powerplay.
Both Booth and Hamhuis played a major role in Henrik Sedin’s insurance marker in the third period as well. (I had an insurance marker once. It was a felt pen from where my parents bought insurance. It wasn’t as nice as Henrik’s goal.)
Just what did Booth have to do with Henrik’s goal? Simple: the Canucks were on a powerplay drawn by Booth driving hard to the net during a Sedin cycle, forcing Slava Voynov to hook him as Henrik swung the puck to him in front. His ability to drive the net is likely one of the main reasons he was matched with the Sedins for this game.
After that, the wizardry took over.
Right at the beginning of the powerplay, Daniel Sedin had an empty net after a Dan Hamhuis shot deflected to him at the side of the goal, but Rob Scuderi got his stick in to deflect the shot away. Then Daniel was absolutely robbed at the backdoor after a cross-ice pass by Henrik. By the time Henrik finally scored, Quick had made 6 saves on the Canucks’ powerplay.
Cory Schneider, on the other hand, just had to make one, but it was a game-saver. It was also a Bieksa-saver, as Bieksa had his attempted pass to Henrik deflected away by Brown, who was off to the races. Bieksa managed to catch up to him, but Brown protected the puck well, forcing Bieksa to take him down and leading to a penalty shot. Fortunately for Bieksa, Schneider stayed right with Brown and stopped him cold.
Then, immediately after the faceoff in the Canucks’ zone, this happened:
Let’s break it down.
Thanks to the break in action provided by the penalty shot, the Canucks first powerplay unit is able to remain on the ice. The Sedins attract a whole lot of attention, with three Kings penalty killers attempting to check them along the boards, though Greene is vacating the area to set up a proper penalty killing box formation. Henrik is attempting to contend with Willie Mitchell’s long reach, and Jarret Stoll is bearing down on him as well.
Instead of being in trouble with the double team, Henrik simply slips right between them, completely ignoring his brother. Where you might normally have seen a quick give-and-go between the twins, Henrik shows Daniel what he’s been up to in his brother’s absence, as he’s had to get used to going it alone.
But seriously, it’s a sweet move.
Henrik swings the puck to the boards, expecting Daniel to be there, but he isn’t. So Henrik treats it like a bank pass to himself. Then the twins get back in sync, as Henrik slides Daniel the puck with a no-look, backhand, through-the-legs pass.
It’s kind of cute how Stoll totally thinks he has Daniel under control here.
Want evidence that the Kings aren’t used to handling a full complement of Sedins? Matt Greene completely sells out for the shot block, expecting Daniel to shoot the puck from a prime scoring position. Ha! Hilarious. If only he knew the Third Law of Sedinery, which states that the Sedins will always make one more pass than is necessary.
To everyone’s surprise — except for everyone who knows anything about the Sedins — Daniel doesn’t shoot the puck. Instead, he spins and delivers a beautiful backhand pass to Dan Hamhuis, who tees up the one-timer. Poor Greene is completely baffled that the puck hasn’t gone off his shinpads yet.
I love this shot, because everyone is looking in the exact same direction. Quick manages to come across and make the save on Hamhuis’s one-timer, but can’t control the rebound with Kesler creating havoc in front of the net. No one has any idea where the rebound is. In order to see it more clearly, let’s get a different angle.
There it is!
The puck goes off Quick’s pad and straight over the heads of Greene and Mitchell, right to where Henrik is waiting. At this point, not even Henrik has seen the puck yet. The only person who seems to have any idea where the rebound went is Quick, but he’s right at the top of the crease to challenge the original shot from Hamhuis and has no chance of getting back in time.
By the time Quick is able to recover from the original save, he’s even further away from where he needs to be. Of course, if Henrik flubs the shot at all, Mitchell or Greene will be able to get to him or Quick will be able to dive back into position. But Henrik’s no flubber (he can’t power a flying car, for instance). He chips it just inside the near post.
In soccer, this would be called a brilliant volley. In hockey, it’s called Wizardous Sedinerie.Tags: Breakdowning, Canucks, Henrik Sedin, Kings, Wizardous Sedinerie