The annual Every Goal series will run Monday to Thursday through July and August, remembering every goal scored by the Canucks, player by player. Today, we take a look at the one-goal guys.
This is a really strange collection of names, if you think about it, and I think it underscores what a strange year last year was. In 2010-11, most of the one-goal guys were the sorts of guys you’d expect: stay-at-home defencemen (Andrew Alberts) and fourth line call-ups (Mario Bliznak). But in 2011-12, the one-goal guys were Keith Ballard, Mikael Samuelsson, Byron Bitz, Aaron Volpatti, Marc-Andre Gragnani, and Zack Kassian. No one could have predicted that group, either because more was expected of them or because they weren’t expected to end the year here.
But not everybody you see below is unexpected. The Sedins are in almost every clip, to the surprise of no one.
After a disappointing, 2-goal debut season with the Canucks, Ballard got a lot of fans excited when he potted his first goal of 2011-12 in the first game of the year, a beautiful play that he starts and finishes, with two Sedin touches in between. He was on an 82-goal pace! That’s way better than 2! Unfortunately, 82 games later, it turned out to be a 1-goal pace. That’s worse than 2. Anyway. Take a moment to appreciate the deft touch on Henrik’s perfectly-timed saucer pass.
This game was Byron Bitz’s bizarre turn as a star third Sedin, as Alain Vigneault played a hunch and threw him on the first line, yielding a goal and an assist from the former Bruin. But, while AV caught lightning in a bottle, he was helped along on this goal by Mike Fisher, who decided to change while the Sedins were entering the zone. The result is an odd-man rush, and the guy that comes on for Fisher can’t accelerate in time to catch up to a coasting Bitz, leaving him open for a feed from Daniel.
Gragnani’s first and, as it would turn out, only goal as a Canuck comes on a feed from Burrows, but be sure to watch closely as Burrows comes out from the wall. That sly little back-kick from Henrik is a thing of absolute beauty, sending Burrows away while Blake Comeau and Scott Hannan remain along the boards. Gorgeous goal. Are you noticing a trend here, by the way? Being on the ice with the Sedins is a good way to score goals.
Zack Kassian had his best game as a Canuck against his former team, a meeting with the Sabres not long after the trade deadline. But I’d give the gold star on this play to Dan Hamhuis, who recognizes that the middle of the ice has opened right up, and Ryan Kesler is one-on-one with his man in front. Kesler’s one of the Canucks’ strongest players, so Hamhuis flips it towards the goalmouth confident he can outmuscle his man. It doesn’t really work out that way, but in Kesler’s efforts to corral the puck, he knocks it to Kassian, who deposits it like a check from grandma.
This clip features a sight as rare as a freckled unicorn: a Henrik Sedin slapshot. Of course, it’s really just a pass, as Mikael “I didn’t think too highly of management” Samuelsson feeds Sedin and goes straight to the net, hoping for a rebound. Sure enough, Henrik gives him one, as Ilya Bryzgalov struggles to find the puck through Daniel Sedin being crosschecked to the ice in front of him, and Samuelsson backhands home his final goal as a Canuck.
Things were looking up for ol’ Aaron Volpatti on December 1. Slated to come out of the lineup in exchange for the returning Mason Raymond, a paperwork error ended those plans and Volpatti was given one last chance to show his stuff. He scored a goal, wristing home a loose puck between the dots after Maxim Lapierre’s centering pass wound up there. Unfortunately, his time on top of the world would be short-lived. Later in the same game, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. This clip also feature John Garrett at his most gangsta, as he forgets the “F” in “shift” when he says “Good shift by the fourth line.”Tags: Aaron Volpatti, Bryon Bitz, Every Goal, every goal 2011-12, Keith Ballard, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Mikael Samuelsson, Zack Kassian