It’s truly Wild when Hank scores
Winning goal was playmaking Sedin’s first ever marker against Minnesota
SAINT PAUL, Minn. --Henrik Sedin was obviously just waiting for the right time to score a goal against the Minnesota Wild.
In 26 previous games against the Wild, Henrik had no goals and 24 assists.
He could not have picked a better time to end that drought than Tuesday night, when he wired a slapshot past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom at 4: 00 of overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 win and the Northwest Division lead.
And while he hasn’t been lighting the lamp against the Wild — his last goal against Minnesota came way back on Oct. 25, 2005 — Sedin has been shooting more and scoring more of late. Funny how that works.
Tuesday night’s goal was his 19th of the season, a careerhigh, and his seventh in the last 10 games.
“ I’m shooting more,” Henrik said. “[ Brother] Danny has been telling me for seven years now to shoot more.”
Henrik said being able to bury some shots earlier this season helped give him some extra confidence when it comes to shooting the puck. He’s always been a pass-first-shoot-second player.
“ I had a few chances right around Christmas where I was able to score on a few shots,” he said. “ Before, I always had to score from three feet and in. I was able to beat the goalie on an open shot without a screen and it gives you confidence, I think.”
Canuck coach Alain Vigneault has also been imploring Henrik to shoot more.
“ But my coaches have been telling me that since I was seven years old,” Henrik joked.
His OT winner was set up, of course, by brother Daniel, who has 12 points in his last eight games. The play of the Sedin twins and linemate Alex Burrows has been key to Vancouver’s run the last two months.
“ We have played well, but I think overall during the season we haven’t had any letdowns, really,” Henrik said of he and his brother. “ There have been one or two games where we haven’t scored, but other than that we’ve been pretty steady. We have worked hard and felt good all year.”
The Sedins’ teammates hope any talk of the twins not producing in big games will now end.
“ They are special players and they’re proving they are clutch players,” said Ryan Kesler.
“ Obviously this past month when we’ve had 15 games to play, they have been our top point-production guys,” Vigneault added.
“ They have done it at pressure moments and that’s good for us with the playoffs around the corner here.” RYPIEN RETURNS: Energy forward Rick Rypien returned from a 70-game absence Tuesday night and skated on the f o u r t h l i n e w i t h D a r c y Hordichuk and Ryan Johnson.
Rypien has been out since the fifth game of the season due to sports hernia surgery, a relapse and then a personal leave.
“ It felt good to get the win and be a part of it,” Rypien said. “ The hardest thing was just adjusting to the speed again and getting my timing.”
The Canucks clearly feel that R y p i e n , i f h e c a n r e m a i n healthy, can be an effective player for them in the playoffs. Vigneault particularly likes the grit and toughness Rypien brings to the lineup.
“ His speed is definitely something that we need and the physicality of finishing checks on defencemen,” Vigneault said. “ He brings that and he helps us killing penalties. We have six more games here, I am not sure he is going to play all of them, but hopefully we can get him in and get him ready for the playoffs.” MILESTONE MOMENT: A goal late in the second period that was originally credited to Kesler was awarded to Pavol Demitra. It was a milestone goal, the 300th in the NHL, for Demitra.
It came when Demitra attempted to pass the puck out from behind the net to Kesler. It looked like the puck touched Kesler’s stick, but it was ruled that it instead bounced off two Wild defenders before getting past Backstrom. Demitra will take it. “ It was a lucky one,” Demitra said. “ I’m glad because I usually struggle with milestones. It’s nice to get it over with, especially with a huge win.”
Canucks winger Daniel Sedin is stopped by Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom in the third period Tuesday. Sedin later set up brother Henrik’s winning goal in overtime.