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Sharks at a loss for words over Bieksa's winner

by Dhiren Mahiban
VANCOUVERKevin Bieksa's goal at 10:18 of double overtime had many of the San Jose Sharks at a loss for words.

Here's what we do know -- Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler, trying to keep the puck in at the Sharks blue line, attempted to dump the puck into the corner to the left of goaltender Antti Niemi.

Instead of ending up in the corner, where nearly every player's attention was, the puck hit a stanchion near the hash marks and bounced out to Bieksa, who stepped into a slap shot from the point and beat Niemi for his fifth goal of these playoffs.

"Someone said it hit one of the stanchions and right to Bieksa, who was looking behind the net thinking it was going to go around the boards," said Patrick Marleau. "It was a bounce and he got a shot off.

"I thought the puck was going behind the net and (Logan) Couture was yelling that it was back at the point. I kind of just turned and Bieksa was already shooting it. Everybody else's head was turned behind the net."

Couture, who had an excellent chance of his own earlier in overtime, said he saw the puck but couldn't get to Bieksa in time.

"It came up the wall, Patty hit it out of the air … no one saw it," he said. "I saw it, I followed it, but no one else saw it and I was out of position.

"Bieksa just walked into a slap shot – no one saw it."

The goal propelled the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final for the firs time in 17 years, and just the third time in the franchise's 40-year history. Fittingly the goal game 17 years to the day Greg Adams scored in double overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs to send the Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

Afterward, even Bieksa admitted it wasn't pretty.

"It just kind of died right in the slot, so I stepped into it," he said. "It was a rolling puck so I shot it, but I think when it went in the goalie was looking behind the net. It's an ugly goal but definitely one you'll take."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan admitted he had no idea where the puck was from the bench.

"Well, the only guy that knew where the puck was Kevin Bieksa," McLellan said. "He actually bounced it into the net. It's one of those things that you absolutely have no control over. We can talk about it all we want.

"It went off a stanchion. When you watch the replay, the officials didn't know where it was, Nemo didn't know where it was, Vancouver, San Jose … nobody knew where it was. It came right to Bieksa. One more bounce he probably whiffs on it we're still playing. Nothing we can do about it."
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