On November 12, 2010, the Canucks returned from a lengthy Eastern road trip and immediately played host to the Chicago Blackhawks. The first game after a road trip being one of hockey's toughest tests, and ditto for the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks were run out of their own building in a 7-1 loss. They called a players-only meeting and immediately got their crap together. Five years plus one day later, the Canucks once again found themselves visited by the Blackhawks after an Eastern road swing. But this time, smartly, they held their players-only meeting beforehand. The Blackhawks didn't stand a chance.
Okay, admittedly, that's a cute but totally false narrative. Let's not kid ourselves. The Canucks won tonight because the Sedins decided that's what was happening. I was reminded they still have that power when I watched this game.
- First things first: if you haven't tweeted Daniel Sedin a hat yet, get on that. The younger Sedin notched the sixth hat trick of his illustrious career, although you wouldn't have known it from looking at the ice, which was as hatless as a suspect described by Chief Wiggum. Shame on you, Vancouver. I know it's ice cold, but you know what was even more ice cold? Robbing Daniel of a hat shower.
- But it was Henrik who scored the first Vancouver goal, and on a powerplay no less. Granted, it was a five-on-three, but credit where credit is due: the Sedins have struggled all season when the opposition gets down to three skaters. Not this time. After Daniel Sedin hit a post, the Canucks worked the puck back to him, and rather than try another shot, he fed his brother at the far side of the net. It was an easy goal after that. Failing to respect Henrik as a backdoor threat, Corey Crawford had drifted so far from the left side that his save attempt was made via Skype.
- Later in the first, the Sedins struck again. Henrik reverted to setup man for the Canucks' second goal, finding a loose puck at the side of the Blackhawks goal and slyly poking it out front to Jannik Hansen. Hansen made no mistake, which is ideal, because a mistake there would have been unacceptable. Getting a chance like that is a bit like coming at the king: you best not miss.
- Let's give a little love to Matt Bartkowski on that goal. The D-man got the second assist, and he earned it, gaining the Chicago blueline with speed and maintaining possession on the zone entry. Bartkowski can frustrate as a defender -- for instance, his work on the Blackhawks' third-period goal leaves much to be desired -- but his ability to rush the puck is top-notch. Lord knows the Sedins aren't crossing the blueline with that kind of purpose. The twins enter the zone like they're looking for a parking spot downtown.
- The Sedins didn't stop there. After a late first-period goal from Ryan Garbutt, whose name is a portmanteau of garbage and butt, the Sedins broke the tie once again in the second period. After nearly turning the puck over with a bad pass, Daniel got it back in a hurry, as Henrik Sedin pursued the puck around the boards, lifted the stick of Duncan Keith on his attempted clear, then went across the ice to his brother. Corey Crawford had no chance on the goal whatsoever, since by this point, it was clear that the Sedins were using actual magic. You'd be forgiven for thinking Crawford was their lovely assistant, since they spent the rest of the game sawing him in half.
- You had to know that three goals wouldn't be enough, though. Not with the Canucks' third-period struggles. And sure enough, the Blackhawks tied things up midway through the third period. It was a bit of an unlucky goal for the Canucks, if you call your goaltender being suddenly terrible unlucky. I totally do.
- Fortunately, the Sedins still weren't done. They answered back within two minutes, connecting on the rush with a staple of Sedinery: the cross-zone saucer pass. Streaking down the far wall, Henrik pulled up and flipped the puck right onto the tape of his brother inside the left circle. Then Daniel surprised Corey Crawford, not to mention everyone else, by opting not to make the extra pass and snapping a quick wrister inside the post. It's been a while since Daniel's flashed that kind of killer instinct. It was surprising, and even moreso when he finished the play by ripping of Crawford's head and throwing it at his body.
- Knowing a one-goal Vancouver lead is hardly safe this season, Daniel and Henrik added the insurance marker, and they did it in style, with their finest goal of the Sedin. Streaking down the right wing, the twins worked a beautiful give-and-go, with Daniel dropping to Henrik, charging up the middle, then taking another beautiful saucer pass. But this time he didn't even wait for it to hit the ground -- Daniel took it in midair like a Xanax for flight anxiety.
- Alex Burrows added an empty-netter, which serves as a helpful reminder that there were other players in this game. But apart from that, no one else did much. They didn't have to, though -- this was a Sedin showcase through and through. You may have been wondering where this level of play has been lately, but don't you dare suggest the twins came late: they're wizards, remember, and a wizard arrives precisely when he means to.