Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Breakdowning Henrik Sedin's goal line tally versus the Flames

The Sedins may have turned 35 last month, but they looked a youthful and buoyant 30 on Wednesday night versus the Calgary Flames. Alongside Brandon Sutter for some reason, the duo generated three goals in a 5-1 win to open the 2015-16 campaign.
Henrik Sedin goal
Henrik Sedin goal

The Sedins may have turned 35 last month, but they looked a youthful and buoyant 30 on Wednesday night versus the Calgary Flames. Alongside Brandon Sutter for some reason, the duo generated three goals in a 5-1 win to open the 2015-16 campaign. Two of them were pretty pretty. 

With all respect to Brandon Sutter, who showed some impressive hand-eye on the line's first goal, the prettiest Sedin line tally belonged to Henrik. Towards the end of the third, Henrik took a pass from his brother, crept out from behind the Calgary net to the goal line, then snapped a perfectly accurate shot over Karri Ramo. It's a goal we've seen Henrik score before, but that did very little to diminish the wonder of it. Any time Henrik Sedin threads the needle like that, it's impressive.

But how in the flip did he get so flippin' open? PITB flippin' investigates.

This play begins with a partial two-on-one. As the Flames attempt a defensive change, Henrik makes a pass that sends Sutter and Daniel in on Mark Giordano. But Sutter can't handle the pass, and in his attempt to corral the bouncing puck, Mikael Backlund and the rest of Calgary's defenders catch up.


Their problem? They don't seem entirely sure where they're supposed to go. They're fun to watch during this clip, looking around, trying to find their marks.

Except for Mark Giordano. He knows what he's doing. He's one of the best defenders in the NHL, and he frustrated the Sedins time and time again last season. Which is why, when Daniel sees an opportunity to lose him in traffic, he takes it. As Sutter heads behind the net, Daniel crosses the crease, hoping to either get Giordano crossed up in the maze of red sweaters and find some space to receive a centring pass, or, at the very least, pull him away from the far side and open up that post for a wraparound.

(It doesn't work. Giordano doesn't chase him, remains mindful of the puck, takes away the pass, and eventually stops Sutter's attempt at the net. But Daniel does manage to cross up a few others.)


Meanwhile, Deryk Engelland has come onto the ice, and he's trying to figure out where to go. As he drifts down low, he keeps a loose eye on Henrik behind him, shoulder-checking three or four times, but when he gets to the crease, he goes one way, and Henrik goes the other, towards the vast swath of open ice on the near side that Daniel's opened up by cutting across.

That's pretty much the last time anybody thinks about Henrik, save for the hyperaware Giordano, who sees all. In fact, it's pretty much the last time anybody looks at either Sedin. Check the screengrab below: all five Flames are either scrambling around, trying to find their places, or watching Brandon Sutter. 


Yeah, you should probably know where the Sedins are. 

In Calgary's defence, Sutter has the puck. Originally, he's headed around the post, but Backlund gets there in time to cut him off, so he cuts back to stuff the puck in on the other side. But Giordano is there to get a stick on it, knock the puck into the trapezoid, then engage with Brandon Sutter in an attempt to get the puck back. But he's turned the wrong way, and Sutter's happy to tie him up, so the puck sits on the ice, unpossessed, just behind him. 


You can already see the problem here. Daniel is going to be first to this puck, and he's probably going to pass it to Henrik. That's always a safe bet. I'm pretty sure Giordano spots the danger, but he's the only one who does, and he can't get there because Sutter smartly runs a pick. Suddenly, the best defender on the ice is out of the play, and with the rest of the Flames just happy to be standing where they're supposed to be standing (a home-opener problem, if there ever was one), both Sedins are free to get up to a little Sedinery.

Daniel seizes the puck, and the Flames think he's headed up the wall. It's as though they've forgotten he has a twin. But Daniel doesn't even think about turning the puck up the far boards. The moment he has it, knowing Sutter has Giordano tied up, Daniel banks it off the end boards to Henrik, who now finds himself down low with no pressure.


You may be wondering where Backlund went, since he was at that far post when Sutter got there a split-second ago. Yeah, he's drifted to the other side, where he's totally useless. I'm not sure why. I'll bet he isn't either. He actually gets back across pretty quickly, and probably thinks he's taken away Henrik's shooting angle here. But that's when Henrik pulls the puck to the goal line and no further, then bends it into the net like David flippin' Beckham.

Don't expect the Sedins to get space like that very often this season. As teams tighten up their defensive systems, this sort of space will become scarce. Especially once this clip is introduced into video sessions, and teams are reminded what happens when you lose sight of the Sedins.