The Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers met for the second time a week on Thursday night and, mercifully for Vancouver hockey fans, the Canucks managed to flip the script in round two. Rather than leaving the game having made zero saves, Cory Schneider made all the saves. Rather than being outscored 4-0, the Canucks did the same to the Oilers.
And, rather than being made to look silly by the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins line, the Sedins restored the natural order by making them look silly. The 2-0 goal was textbook Wizardous Sedinerie. Let’s take another look and revel in its excellence:
The play begins in the neutral zone. Dan Hamhuis is battling for the puck along the boards, and the Sedins are well-positioned for if and when he moves the puck ahead. If he just chips it to Daniel Sedin, Daniel can throw it behind him to Burrows and suddenly the Canucks are in 2-on-1. If he manages to get it to Henrik, who’s offscreen, in front of the Vancouver bench, the Canucks are still in 2-on-1. But Jeff Petry is in good position to make sure this puck doesn’t get by him. No way it’ll get by him.
It gets by him. Now the Oilers are in trouble, because Petry is behind the play and Ladislav Smid is the lone man back, and Petry’s problems are even further compounded by how flat-footed he is. Daniel blows by him as well. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rushes into the play in the hopes of breaking up what suddenly looks like a very dangerous rush. Meanwhile, Burrows is at the bottom of the screen, just being dangerous. He never touches the puck on this play, but he’s integral to it, putting himself in dangerous spaces and forcing the Oilers to be mindful of him. Look how wide he goes and the way it pulls Smid away from the puck.
Now, if Henrik was a better accelerator, he’d be off to the races and this might be a 3-on-1. But, luckily for the Oilers, the Sedins have never played a speed game. Rather than turn on the jets, Henrik puts the puck ahead to Daniel in full stride and cuts to the middle.
But what the Sedins lack in speed, they make up for in smarts. Henrik doesn’t just wander away from the boards. He wanders into Petry’s lane for a little harmless interference.
Things get worse for Petry, who loses his footing and goes down. Then as he attempts to get back to his feet, he gets his stick all caught up in his equipment.
Update: Justin Bourne’s breakdown of this same goal, which was published at the same damn time as this one, dammit, features the best image of this slapstick moment right here. Rough sequence for Petry.
Meanwhile, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has caught up to Daniel, and he probably feels great about it until when Daniel curls back up the boards in that special Sedin way, opening up space for a little backhand saucer pass to a suddenly wide open Henrik.
If Henrik could have handled the feed cleanly, I have no doubt that he would have swivelled backwards and fed Burrows for a one-timer. Burrows is equally confident, and he actually moves up into a space where he can receive that pass cleanly. This guy knows the Sedins so well it’s ridiculous.
But Henrik doesn’t get the opportunity, because he’s given a rare mediocre pass from Daniel. It’s in his skates, and the eldest Sedin is forced to attempt to kick it to his stick. He kicks too far in front of him, and the puck slides to the end boards.
But that’s okay. The Sedins regroup pretty well. Henrik sets up shop behind the goal. Burrows drifts to the near wall and Daniel remains in the corner, giving their centre two quality passing options.
The Oilers might be okay here. Petry’s back in the play and he can rush out to Burrows if the puck gets there. Smid is parked at the side of the goal, in good position to stop a pass to Burrows and take away the power move option to the net, if Henrik suddenly decides to do that. Recognizing that Henrik’s options are limited, Nugent-Hopkins attacks. This is a terrible, terrible idea, since it serves to, well, open up Henrik’s options.
The moment he does, Henrik feeds the puck to a wide open Daniel in the corner and heads to the other side of the goal.
This is where things get sticky for the Oilers again. Someone has to challenge Daniel, and since Nugent-Hopkins made a lunge towards Henrik, Petry heads in that direction. That’s a bad idea.
Nugent-Hopkins does the same, trying to return to where he should have been in the first place, even though, at this point, his best course of action would probably have been to follow Henrik around the goal, since he’s committed to that. But when he sees Petry coming over, he gets confused and decides to come to a halt smack-dab in the middle of nowhere. He is now functionally useless, as he has been for most of this sequence.
My new archnemesis Bourne has another great screengrab of the moment RNH sees Petry and becomes a houseplant, and the time and space it gives Daniel, so we’re going to steal it:
Meanwhile, Burrows wisely darts into the slot, forcing Smid to leave the side of the goal. Look at him dart. Way to dart, Burr.
Now Henrik is forgotten, and forgetting about Henrik is as bad as forgetting about Dre, especially since Daniel’s still looking to redeem himself after the crap pass that forced Henrik behind the goal a moment ago. While everyone is looking at him, Daniel is thinking Henrik the entire time.
No one else is. Not the three Edmonton players down low. Not Nikolai Khabibulin, who really thinks Daniel’s going to shoot here, and not the cameraman.
In fact, Khabibulin is so oblivious he attempts to make a kick save on the pass, mistaking it for a shot. Now he, along with everyone else, is completely out of position. The only thing that can stop Henrik is the fact that he’s on the wrong side of the goal line.
Look where his feet are! He’s literally standing inside the no-zone!
But no matter. With all that time and space, he picks the far corner and the Canucks go up by two. The result is this:
Tags: Breakdowning, Wizardous Sedinerie