January 4, 2007, Dallas Stars at Edmonton Oilers. Stars led 5-4 with less than a minute to play when forward Patrik Stefan lost control of the puck in the Oilers crease while trying to end the game with an empty net goal.
The Oilers took the puck the length of the ice leading to an Alex Hemsky goal to tie the game at 5-5 with two seconds left; the Stars eventually won in a shootout, no thanks to Stefan.
Examples of a highlight reel goal and empty net goal mixing together nicely are few and far between, normally they go together like a beard and runny eggs.
Henrik Sedin provided another example in Vancouver’s season opening 4-2 win over Calgary Wednesday night.
Picking up the puck at his own blue line, Hank dashed through centre ice past Kris Russell before Mark Giordano applied pressure. Henrik twisted past Giordano, who fell to the ice, which spun Henrik to the ice as well, screaming towards the net. Russell recovered to make a play on the puck, but as Henrik was about to kick the puck into the net, he batted it in one-handed prior to crashing into the goal.
The beautiful goal sealed the game for the Canucks. There was no Oilers/Stars comeback to be had for the Flames because of Henrik’s gritty effort.
Henrik called it luck.
His teammates think otherwise.
“That was just sick, I don’t know how he did that,” said Zack Kassian, still in awe.
“That’s what a leader does, big goal that put the game away for us,” said Nick Bonino. “That’s one of the nicer empty net goals I’ve ever seen, that’s a skilled guy, I’m pretty sure he could do it again if he tried.”
Radim Vrbata seconded that notion saying “it’s probably something he’s been practicing.”
After all these years there’s still some Sedinery we haven’t seen.
“What an effort by Henrik,” said Vrbata. “I’ve seen some weird empty net goals; as a player if you see an empty net you do everything you can to score somehow and clearly he did.”
The goal cemented Vancouver’s first win of the season in a 60-minute effort, capped off with a nice sigh of relief.
“It’s a great feeling, you work 59 minutes to get that lead and when we’re able to put it away like that, it’s great,” said Bonino. “It’s never over, crazy stuff can happen, but to get the empty net goal always feels good.”
“That’s why you stay until the very end,” added Ryan Miller, who couldn’t see the goal live from his vantage point, but has watched the replay “many times.”
You will have to when the plays of the week come out. Good thing it never gets old.