VANCOUVER -- Kevin Bieksa got the primary assist on what to date is the most important goal of the Vancouver Canucks' season, maybe the most important in franchise history.
Of course, that could all change in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday in Boston, but for now Bieksa's bank shot-pass off the end boards early in the third period is the assist everybody is talking about. The puck came out to Maxim Lapierre on the left side of the net and the Canucks' third-line center shot it off of Tim Thomas and into the net to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead that stood the rest of the way.
Bieksa explained the play that led to a win in Game 5 and his feelings now that Vancouver is 60 minutes away from winning the Stanley Cup. Here is what he had to say:
Q: Is putting the puck off the end boards and getting it to bounce out front the best way to beat Thomas when he comes that far out of his crease?
A: Obviously Burr (Alexandre Burrows) scored the big goal in Game 2 in overtime against him, a pump fake and going around. He's coming out far, so the only way to make him pay is to put pucks off the boards and hope they bounce into the slot.
Q: So, that was a set play or were you trying to shoot it?
A: I'm trying just to put it off the wall and hope it got a bounce. Obviously (I'm) not a geometry whiz, so I'm not sure exactly where but I was hoping it would bounce somewhere in front of the net. It bounced to our stick.
Q: When did you guys start talking about doing that play?
A: I can remember trying it a few times in Boston. We talked about it before the series. We have pretty good scouting crew that did a good job of giving us tips on Thomas. He's a good goalie so you have to find ways to cheat and get little advantages. That was one of them.
Q: What does this feel like, being one win away right now?
A: It feels great. We're trying to stay really focused. We've got one big game left. We'd like to go finish it there -- that'd be a great feeling. We've got two kicks left at it, but obviously we want to go finish it there.
Q: Can you talk about the way Roberto (Luongo) responded tonight after all the criticism he came under?
A: He played an unbelievable game for us, and we expected it out of him. It's no surprise. He's a big-time goalie. He's played on the big stage before and succeeded. You can't really blame him for what happened in Boston. It was the whole team that letdown in Boston. You saw the whole team regroup and come back and play strong. He led the charge.
Q: How about the success of your penalty kill tonight, the difference it made early?
A: The penalty kill was strong. The penalty kill was good in Game 4 too. That was one of the bright spots for us. We were good and we continued that tonight. We pressured them a lot and made them work for their chances. I can't remember a whole lot of great looks that they got."