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 Maxim “PaRappa the Rappiere” Lapierre.
Maxim Lapierre was a different player for the Canucks last season than the one they acquired at the trade deadline the year prior. It was partially his doing, as he committed to fighting his own battles more often and bringing more energy. But it was also partially due to his usage, as the Canucks deployed him primarily as a winger.
It was a bit of a head-scratcher, as Lapierre acquitted himself quite well as the third line centre during the Canucks’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. You’d have thought he proved himself as a centre in Vigneault’s system. But with a handful of other centres to accomodate, it wasn’t hard to see why Vigneault moved him to wing.
It wasn’t hard to see why Vigneault liked him at wing either. He was effective, causing turnovers, creating scoring chances, and succeeding regardless of what line he landed on. At one point, Lapierre was on pace for 10 fights and 10 goals. He didn’t quite get there, but 8 fights and 9 goals is nothing to sneeze at.
Come to think of it, it’s rude to sneeze at pretty much anything. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. Anyway, here’s every goal Maxim Lapierre scored last season.
Lapierre’s first goal of the season is also the Canucks’ first goal of the season. The goal is an absolute gift from Marc-Andre Fleury (a rare occurrence back then, and Fleury throws the puck away afterward in disgust). Lapierre puts a puck towards the goal and it trickles between Fleury’s legs like a… nevermind. Anyway, let’s give Lapierre a little credit for his hustle here, as he forces a turnover coming out from behind the Penguins’ net to gain possession of the puck.
Speaking of hustle, this goal is all about it. Lapierre flies into the Capitals’ zone, pouncing on the puck before Tomas Vokoun and putting it towards the goal. Just like on his first, Lapierre gets lucky and it somehow manages to find its way past Vokoun. Extra credit to Alex Semin, who watches Lapierre pass him by like a boss.
No doubt feeling like he can do no wrong after two delectably lucky goals, Lapierre keeps on a 2-on-1 with Chris Higgins, then slowly outwaits the sprawling defender and nonchalantly beats Vokoun a second time. Let’s also take a moment to note Alex Semin coming back hard. Granted, he accomplishes nothing and winds up blowing right by the play, but there goes that “lazy Russian” stereotype.
If you thought Lapierre showed some serious hustle on his second goal, you thought wrong. He’s the real Van McCoy on this one, forcing a turnover behind the goal, getting his centring pass blocked, then forcing another turnover, collecting a Mike Smith rebound and fighting off a check to score on a nifty backhand. What a keener.
This time it’s Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins doing the hustling, as he chases the puck into the Blue Jackets’ zone, slows his man up by tripping him, then takes the puck behind the goal and centers for Lapierre. I love the way the line celebrates on this goal. Malhotra’s jaw nearly falls off, you can hear Lapierre hooting the moment he scores, and Kiss Huggins demonstrates why we’ve given him that nickname.
Lapierre gets lucky twice over on this goal. First, there’s the good fortune of being able to pounce on this puck during the goalmouth scramble. Second, there’s the good fortune of having Cody Hodgson on his line — Hodgson somehow manages to poke this puck over to him. I like the moment where Shorty asks the question and Garrett falls dead silent, rendered speechless by that level of insight.
Marc-Andre Gragnani may not have done enough to convince the Canucks he warranted keeping, but it’s not as though he was without skill. He shows great hands and vision on this play, corralling a puck along the boards by kicking it to his stick, then making a nice dangle before finding Lapierre cutting through the slot. Speaking of great hands, this is far and away Lapierre’s best snipe in a Canucks’ uniform. Unlike the Blade trilogy, he’s not known for his snipes.
With Daniel Sedin sitting the rest of the regular season out with a concussion, Alain Vigneault made the curious decision to replace him with Lapierre. The result was not unlike the result Vigneault tends to get regardless of who he puts on the Sedin line: successful. But Lapierre earns this goal, fighting off his man to get at Henrik’s remarkable backhand lob pass and banging it home. That pass, man. I’ve seen tennis players that can’t backhand lob like that.
This looks like Mason Raymond’s goal at first — and he even runs the gauntlet of fist-pumps like it is, because he needs the affirmation — but it never touches him. It actually goes off Sheldon Brookbank, who attempts to fist-bump the puck as it’s going by and instead pounds it into his own goal.Tags: Every Goal, every goal 2011-12, Maxim Lapierre