Contrary to how some Canucks talked about it after the game – tongue-in-cheek I’m sure – Kevin Bieksa’s series-winning goal in double OT wasn’t a planned play. It probably wasn’t the kind of goal Bieksa dreamed of scoring as a kid growing up in Grimsby or neither was it the prettiest goal he’d ever scored. To some, it was a fluky goal resulting from a broken play. To others, it was a heads-up play when no one else, including Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, knew where the puck was.
There’s no argument though that it was one of the biggest goals of Bieksa’s career, and certainly, one of the biggest goals in the Canucks’ 40-year history.
GM Mike Gillis has always maintained that teams not only need to be good, but also need to be lucky, to win the Stanley Cup. Last night, they had some luck, and now have their first chance in 17 years – perhaps their best chance ever – to do just that.
Roberto Luongo. The oft-criticized goaltender made 54 saves to steal a game for the Canucks.
Antti Niemi. Overall, Niemi played well in this series. But then again, he allowed 4 goals in 13 shots in game 4 and 3 goals; last night, he made 31 saves but was completely unprepared on Bieksa’s goal.
- 91. San Jose had a total of 91 shots of goal in games 4 and 5. Luongo stopped all but 4 of them for a .956 save percentage In 5 series games, Luongo stopped 176 of 189 shots for a .931 save percentage.
- 12. Henrik Sedin had 12 points (1 goal – 11 assists) in 5 games against the Sharks.
- 8. Canucks defensemen accounted for 40% of the team’s 20 goals this round.
- 1. The Sharks took one penalty all game. One.
- 0. The Canucks’ fourth line of Cody Hodgson, Victor Oreskovich and Tanner Glass had 0 shifts after around the mid-way mark of the second period.
The Next Time
The Stanley Cup Finals, baby!