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Breakdowning Henrik Sedin’s first goal in 56 games

Henrik Sedin has never scored a lot of goals in his career, preferring to set up his teammates than hog the spotlight, but he’s never scored this few. His career low in goals heading into this season was eight.
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Henrik Sedin has never scored a lot of goals in his career, preferring to set up his teammates than hog the spotlight, but he’s never scored this few. His career low in goals heading into this season was eight.

On Friday night, Henrik scored just his third goal of the season. He went 55 games between goals. He’s on pace to obliterate his career-low in shots, with just 59 through 74 games.

And yet, he’s still been productive, with 45 points in 74 games, which is pretty solid second-line production. There have been plenty of questions about whether the Sedins will retire at the end of this season, but he and his brother have proven they can still contribute.

Thursday night’s goal against the Blackhawks might have been the last goal of Henrik’s career. It was also a wonderful set play that deserves the Breakdowning treatment. Let’s go!

Breakdowning Henrik 1

Let’s start off with this very important and undeniably thrilling moment: when linesman Darren Gibbs tossed out Artem Anisimov from the faceoff circle. Tossing you out...of a Darren Gibbs faceoff!

This moment is key, because it meant rookie Alex Debrincat had to come in to take the faceoff. Anisimov isn’t the best faceoff man, with a 45.5% faceoff percentage this season, but in the defensive zone Debrincat has been a lot worse, winning just one-third of his draws. Debrincat was at a disadvantage, not only facing a far more experienced centre in Henrik Sedin, but also having to avoid jumping on the faceoff and taking a penalty.

Breakdowning Henrik 2

Henrik won the faceoff to Daniel, who moved it back to Michael Del Zotto at the left point. More importantly, Daniel and Sam Gagner rotate counter-clockwise around the faceoff circle.

The Blackhawks defensive structure is immediately in trouble. Brent Seabrook tries to follow Daniel, but gets caught up in the battle between Henrik and Debrincat.

Meanwhile, Anisimov bolts to the left point to cover Del Zotto, Tomas Jurco heads to the point to cover Troy Stecher, and Duncan Keith backs up to cover the front of the net. Keith’s move is sensible, as most teams try to get a man to the net as soon as possible off a won faceoff, but the Canucks delay going to the net

Suddenly, the Canucks have gone from a normal faceoff setup to have two forwards wide open: Gagner on his way to the boards and Daniel heading to the point.

Breakdowning Henrik 3

Del Zotto moved the puck down to Gagner, who didn’t have a Blackhawks defender within ten feet of him. He immediately passed to Daniel, who also didn’t have a defender anywhere near him.

As Daniel rotated up to the point, Troy Stecher sneakily snuck his sneaky sneakers behind Jurco, who only had eyes for Daniel and the puck. While the pass to Daniel was the right play, you can also see a wide open passing lane to Stecher at the backdoor. It’s like when you’re playing Connect Four: the path to victory is giving yourself more than one way to complete a play.

Breakdowning Henrik 4

Seabrook and Debrincat suddenly realized that they were both engaged with Henrik, and thinking that sounded like the start of a bad romantic comedy, they broke it off. That left Henrik all alone in the world, and also all alone on the ice.

Every Blackhawk is staring directly at Daneil Sedin’s one-timer. I’ve circled the three Canucks who are completely open with no one paying attention to them: Gagner, Henrik, and Stecher. Absolutely no one is even thinking about boxing out any of these players to prevent them from getting a rebound.

Gagner is obviously the least dangerous, but Henrik and Stecher both have an unimpeded path to the net. Keith got momentarily dragged out of position, likely because he was dreaming about elbowing Daniel Sedin in the head again. He had a chance to take either Henrik or Stecher; he takes neither.

Breakdowning Henrik 5

Daniel Sedin’s one-timer was hard and low. Berube tried to direct the puck to the corner with his stick, but he instead lands it directly on Henrik’s blade for the putback jam.

Stecher keeps his stick on the ice as he heads to the net, just in case Henrik tried to pass the puck behind Berube through the crease, which is honestly a good call.

Breakdowning Henrik 6

That all leads to this great moment, as Henrik Sedin smiles happily, Troy Stecher grins like a madman, and Sam Gagner...uh, whistles? Kind of a weird screenshot for him. Sorry, Sam.

Gagner played this to perfection for the Sedins, getting to just the right spot on the ice and weighting his pass to Daniel perfectly for a one-timer. Gagner hasn’t been the best right winger for the Sedins this season, but they really haven’t permanently clicked with any of their many linemates.

We’ve seen this set play all season from the Sedins, but it never worked better than on this goal. This play seemed to be something they came up with for this season. Canucks fans got used to the Sedins coming up with some brand new play every off-season and coming back with the slap-pass into the slot or the intentional-icing bank pass.

Will we get to see them come back next season with another new play? Will they get to play with Elias Pettersson on their wing? Is this the last breakdown of a Sedin goal ever?