February 16, 2013
Henrik Sedin hits Canucks milestone in 4-3 loss to Dallas
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - It was a vintage Henrik Sedin pass, one he called "fitting" — a cross-ice feed through two defencemen to find a streaking line-mate for the goal.
Except this time, the second period set-up to Alex Burrows Friday against the Dallas Stars was more than just another assist.
With it, the star centre secured his spot as the Vancouver Canucks all-time leading scorer.
Having picked up another helper earlier in the night, Henrik surpassed Markus Naslund as the franchise top point-getter with the 757th point of his NHL career — all with Vancouver.
It led to a five-minute standing ovation by the capacity crowd at Rogers Arena, followed by a tribute video with congratulatory messages from former captains Trevor Linden and Naslund.
"To be part of something like that and getting a chance to get the record on home ice in front of your home fans, it was an honour and a great feeling out there," said Henrik, who also played his 905th game. "It means a lot to me."
But as special as the milestone-setting moment was, the night ended in disappointment with the Canucks blowing a two-goal lead to fall 4-3 to the Stars.
Rookie Brenden Dillon, who hails from Surrey, B.C., scored the winner with 3:01 remaining in the game, putting a dagger into a memorable evening. The defenceman wired the shot top-shelf past Cory Schneider for his third goal of the season, handing the Canucks their first loss in seven games. It was also just Vancouver's second regulation loss at home, dropping them to 5-2-1 at Rogers Arena and 8-3-2 overall.
"It's awesome to do that in front of friends and family," said Dillon, who doled out about 15 tickets to the game. "It's my first trip playing at Rogers Arena ever.
"For us young guys to come in and chip in tonight, we were just trying to help out the team and it was fortunate that we were able to do it and get the win."
The 22-year-old, who noted he had posters of the Sedins on his wall growing up back home, laughed when asked about spoiling Henrik's night.
"I didn't even know going into the game he was that close to setting the record," he said. "He's a fantastic player and one of the best in the league. Very big congrats to him."
On his part, Henrik said he didn't know what turned things around for Vancouver after they jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second period amidst the growing excitement in the building.
"I thought we played a good game up to the halfway point and then they took over," the captain said. "Giving up four goals five-on-five, that never happens with this team.
"There's going to be games where these things happen and you got to move on."
As if the night wasn't eventful enough — one that also saw three straight fights in the second period — Ryan Kesler made his long-awaited season debut. The second-line centre, who missed the first 12 games recovering from off-season shoulder and wrist surgeries, picked up an assist and finished with four shots and 17:27 of ice-time.
"It felt good to be back out there again," said Kesler, who was given a nice ovation on his first shift. "It was good to get cheers when I came out for the first shift but … I've got some ways to go still with my game and it's going to come in the near future. I didn't hold back out there tonight."
The Canucks looked to have caught a break early as Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen left the game with a lower-body injury about 14 minutes into the first period after making a save on Jordan Schroeder. He faced just seven shots, and was replaced by Richard Bachman.
They then appeared to have opened the scoring later in the period, but Mason Raymond's goal was waved off due to a goalie interference call. Just a shift after that, the Stars struck.
Reilly Smith picked up his first NHL goal and point, sneaking a shot short-side by Schneider to give the visitors the lead after 20 minutes.
But Vancouver came out with purpose in the second. Daniel Sedin, with an assist by Henrik, got the hosts on the board first, beating Bachman from just above the goal-line. Less than a minute later, Chris Higgins took a slick Dale Weise pass and wired his third goal of the season to put the Canucks ahead.
Not long after, Burrows potted his marker, thanks to Henrik's record-setting assist and Daniel's second point of the night, near the midway point of the game, giving Vancouver a two-goal lead.
"It was very fitting for him to score the goal and for Dan to be part of it too, they both meant a lot to myself and our line," Henrik said.
Then, at the 15-minute mark of the middle frame, three consecutive fights broke out, each right after the other. Aaron Volpatti and Ryan Garbutt dropped the gloves first, followed by Max Lapierre and Vernon Fiddler, and capped off by Weise and Eric Nystrom. The triple tilt seemed to shift momentum Dallas' way, although the Canucks weren't quick to admit it.
"That second period, we got in some penalty trouble and we just stopped getting the puck fast in the neutral zone," Kesler said. "We had turnovers and that fed their energy."
The Stars got one back on the scoreboard before the hectic period came to a close, as Cody Eakin picked up his second of the season, sneaking a rebound by Schneider. It was a goal the Canucks goalie said he would have liked to have back.
With 7:38 left in regulation, the Stars evened things up with rookie Antoine Roussel jamming away at the puck in the crease, eventually putting it past Schneider for his second of the season. It set the stage for Dillon's game-winning houncer.
"If I had gotten over standing up, I might have had a better shot at it but he got it off really quick and put it in a good spot," Schneider said of the goal. "Hindsights 20-20, I would have loved to maybe step over instead of slid … and he made a good shot."
Schneider finished with 25 saves to fall to 4-3 on the season. Meanwhile, Bachman stopped 18 of 21 shots for the win.
The Canucks, who went 0-for-3 on the power play will close out their four-game homestand Sunday against the St. Louis Blues.