On this day in 2011, the Sedin twins play one of the best playoff games of their careers
Photo credit:© Mark J. Rebilas | 2018
6 months ago
On May 24, 2011, Kevin Bieksa scored the goal that sent the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. You’ve heard this story before, and unfortunately, you know how it eventually ends. In double overtime, still tied at two apiece, Alex Edler attempts to rim the puck along the glass.
It instead hits the stanchion, and — unbeknownst to everyone on the ice except for Bieksa — takes a sharp turn toward the blue line. And there Bieksa waited, ready to fire it home. Past Anti Niemmi, and right on past the Sharks to punch the Canucks’ ticket to the 2011 Cup Final.
Bieksa called it an ugly goal. Chris Higgins called it a set play. Everyone knows where they were the moment it went in.
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Legendary sportswriter Tony Gallagher’s writings of the night, however, remind us of a different thing that happened that evening: Daniel and Henrik Sedin played perhaps the best playoff game of their storied careers in game five against the Sharks.
Teammate Chris Higgins immediately gave the twins the credit they were due when he spoke to the media that night.
“I was the happiest guy in the building to see that one go in,” Higgins said of Bieksa’s goal. “I thought I had it for a while but it doesn’t matter now. But the Sedins? Unstoppable tonight. Unstoppable.”
And they were unstoppable that night, despite the stat line showing two assists for Henrik and one for Daniel. Neither scored, but their impact was felt elsewhere. The Sedins went toe-to-toe with San Jose’s top guns, shutting down and simply outplaying the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in their primes. Daniel registered a team-leading five shots on goal on a night where the Canucks managed just 34 to San Jose’s 56. Both Sedins picked up assists on Alex Burrows’ goal to open the scoring.
Here’s what Gallagher had to say about Bieksa’s electrifying goal and the twins’ performance in the Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 edition of The Province newspaper.
“It may not have been a set play, but the great thing about it was the fact the Sedins were on the ice when it happened, because they had just played perhaps the best playoff game of their careers. So utterly dominant were they that it was an agonizing wait between shifts, particularly given the fact Ryan Kesler was crocked, Lapierre had no gas and the coach doesn’t trust Cody Hodgson enough to let him play after the second period.”
Many will also be quick to tell you that game four of this series is actually the best playoff game of the Sedins’ storied careers. Daniel tallied three assists while Henrik assisted on all of the Canucks’ goals in a 4-2 victory to put San Jose on the brink of elimination. It was a game for the ages, and the fact that the twins managed to turn in another stellar performance just a game later is simply remarkable.
“Yes, this was one of the best games we’ve ever had,” said Daniel post game. “We felt so strong, we just wanted to keep going out there and we could have played all night.”
Game five of that series was like the Grouse Grind, and the Sedins were well, the Sedins.
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