VANCOUVER -- Kevin Bieksa's goal in the third period was only his second of the playoffs, but it was one of the biggest of his career.
Bieksa's far side shot into the top left corner of the net 7:02 into the third evened up the score in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Rogers Arena. The Canucks had been pushing hard for the equalizer and Bieksa, thanks to a dump in by Henrik Sedin and a sweet pass from Alex Burrows, gave it to them.
Just 79 seconds later, Henrik Sedin scored what proved to be the game-winner on the power play and the Canucks held home ice with a 3-2 victory for a 1-0 lead in the series against the San Jose Sharks.
Following the game, Bieksa talked about his goal, the play of the Sedin twins and how big it was for the Canucks to stay composed and wear down the Sharks in the third period. Here is what he had to say:
Q: What does it mean for you guys when the twins get going like they were in the third period?
A: When the twins get going like that, they're almost unstoppable. They're generating every shift it seems like, they're getting lots of chances and they could have had three or four tonight the way they were going. They're going to be tough to stop.
Q: Can you talk about your goal, set up how it all went down?
A: I came late into the play and Bur (Burrows), with the great vision that he has saw me, found me and I put it on net."
Q: Is your mobile defense something you can use to your advantage in this series?
A: Yeah, I think we have six guys that can jump up into the play. Obviously they have (Dan) Boyle, who is probably the most and the best offensive defenseman in the game, but we feel we can do it by committee. We have six guys and it was just the right time.
Q: What about the composure you guys showed in the third period?
A: Yeah, we've developed this composure over the course of the playoffs. We're getting better at playing with the lead and we were pretty clean in the third period when we had the lead.
Q: How do you explain the push that started late in the second and carried over into the third? It seemed like the Canucks were playing two different games.
A: I thought we had a good first period. We were down one, but played good hockey. It was a good first period, we were happy. In the second we had some good shifts by Raffi (Torres), Max (Lapierre) and Jannik (Hansen) and just kind of fed off of that. We had a little bit of momentum, were playing in their end for a little bit and it felt like we were wearing them down. We got some goals in the third because of it.
Q: You talked about wearing them down. Was it talked about amongst you guys that they were just coming off an emotional Game 7 with not much time in between?
A: Yeah, and above that we feel we're a pretty well-conditioned team. We play four lines and six 'D' pretty consistently throughout the game and the advantage of that is being fresh, rolling the lines over and using our speed. We feel it wears teams down eventually.