It takes a lot to overshadow the goalies in Vancouver.
Ryan Kesler returning couldn’t do it. A controversial disallowed goal couldn’t do it. Three straight fights initiated by a line the Dallas Stars dubbed the Hansons couldn’t do it.
Not even Henrik Sedin could do it. Not even on his historic, record-setting night.
In a game where everything happened, it still came down to Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo. And the latter didn’t even play.
Maybe he should have.
Schneider was beat for two brutal goals — a couple of McSchofties — and was one of the reasons the Canucks blew a 3-1 lead and spoiled Henrik’s night.
Brenden Dillon was another. He’s the Surrey kid with the Sedin posters on his wall back home who scored the winner in a 4-3 come-from-two-goals-down Dallas victory.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Head coach Alain Vigneault made the call to go back to Schneider, even after Roberto Luongo stoned the Minnesota Wild Wednesday to take the NHL lead in goals against average.
Vigneault may have been regretting that 17:50 into the second, when Schneider fumbled a shot and essentially kicked in his own rebound to give the Stars life, and their second goal, cutting Vancouver’s lead to 3-2.
“I pretty much gave them two on my own, those first two goals,” Schneider said. “You aren’t going to win too many games in this league when you spot the other team two goals. It’s just frustrating. There were times I felt good and made some good saves. And then, a couple back breaking goals at the end of the first and the second.
“You put them on a tee like that and they’re going to take advantage of it.”
The first goal was the worst, Schneider thought. Reilly Smith got a bad-angle, short-side shot by him to kick off the scoring.
“You do it a thousand times and maybe you take it for granted it’s going to stick to you,” Schneider said. “I wasn’t really surprised by it. I saw it coming. I just went into that position and somehow it got through.
“We were able to survive that one and make it a 3-1 game.”
Everything changed for the Canucks after their third goal, which was also Henrik’s historic moment. It was a symbolic one too.
As he cut into the offensive zone, he sliced a pass through a landfill of Dallas Stars’ sticks. The pass caught Alex Burrows on the fly, like a quarterback leading his wide receiver on a slant.
Burrows tapped it in midway through the second like he’s done so many times since 2009. With it, Henrik passed Markus Naslund as the team’s all-time points leader. He also reminded people just how important Burrows has been in changing the Sedins’ dynamic over the years.
He made them more dangerous off the rush. And he made them better.
Rogers Arena exploded in a standing ovation, but instead of invigorating the Canucks, it looked like it gassed them emotionally.
Ferociously fast in the first half the game, the Canucks were never the same team after Burrows’ goal.
“We stopped taking the puck fast through the neutral zone,” Kesler explained. “We had turnovers, that fed their energy and that was the game.”
The Stars claimed they got the momentum a little later, during an odd sequence of three straight fights 15 minutes into the second, led by a line Dallas calls the Hansons. Ryan Garbutt fought Aaron Volpatti, Vern Fiddler fought Max Lapierre and Eric Nystrom fought Dale Weise.
“I thought it changed the game,” Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I thought it changed the mindset of our players on the bench.
“You could see it. You could hear it. I think it was guys stepping up to the plate who wanted to win and that’s what character does.”
The first period had some life, and entertainment. The Canucks could have easily scored first. In fact, some will argue they did.
Mason Raymond, yes that’s right, charged toward the net and punched in a Jannik Hansen feed. The puck went over Dallas goalie Richard Bachman, forced into the game after Lehtonen pulled himself because of an apparent hand injury suffered off a Jordan Schroeder wrister. But the goal was disallowed as officials viewed Raymond’s contact with Bachman impeded his chance to make a save.
“I’m under the understanding you had to make contact with the goalie, which I didn’t feel I did, but such is the call,” Raymond said.
Seconds later, Smith scored on Schneider, beating him short side with one of the uglier goals of the season, putting Dallas up 1-0.
From there, the Canucks dominated. The Sedins opened the second period with some strong shifts and tied the game when Daniel Sedin picked off a Henrik pass, and bounced it off Bachman and into the net. Henrik put in some solid spade work behind the net, fending off both Philip Larsen and Cody Eakin before connecting with his brother for the point that tied Markus Naslund’s all-time record.
Chris Higgins gave the Canucks a two-goal cushion when he wired a sweet feed from Weise. It was Weise’s first point of the season, and just may have been his best pass as a Canuck.