On the whole, 2011-12 wasn’t a memorable season for Canucks fans – especially after the club’s dominant 2010-11 campaign. But beneath the surface there were many fun moments if you stopped to smell the roses.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at ten of them, and counting them down (in order).
For the first installment, I am going to take a look at a goal that personifies many things about this Canucks team. Read on to find out more about Lapierre’s evening as a Coyote Hunter.
On November 25th, 2011, the Canucks were in Phoenix playing the Coyotes. The team jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 50 minutes of the game. With less than 10 minutes left in the final frame, Max Lapierre scored a goal that was equal parts skill and hard work.
Lapierre outworked and outsmarted several Coyotes on this play. The Canucks strayed away from their aggressive forecheck at times in 2011-12, after using it to such great success in 2010-11 and during their run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Lapierre’s work ethic was one constant this past season for the Canucks, and this goal is a perfect example of it.
Let’s break the goal down.
In this first frame, Lapierre is bearing down on the Coyotes defense. Smith has just played the puck off to the side, giving Keith Yandle a number of outlets (although one of them happens to be Derek Morris).
Lapierre follows Yandle behind the net, and knocks the puck loose. He centers the puck to a teammate, but no scoring chance arises. However, he doesn’t quit on the play. Morris is busy defending the referee in the corner.
The Coyotes, who of course travel in packs, now have four players around the puck. Lapierre rushes back to catch up to the play. He knocks it loose for a second time. An Aarom Rome “off the glass” special wouldn’t be looking so bad for the Phoenix defense right about now….
Lapierre, having isolated Morris, goes in for the kill. Morris has two great passing options as well as the boards in play, but he decides, of course, to throw the puck up the middle. For the third time on the shift, Lapierre knocks the puck loose.
Lapierre beats Morris to the net, gains body position, spins, and fires a back hand shot far side past Mike Smith. An incredibly skillful move for any player to make, let alone one known more for his defensive and agitating abilities.
Max Lapierre, Coyote Hunter.