If the Vancouver Canucks are ever going to dig out of this deep pit, they will need all manner of contribution from just about every player, every line, not just the Kesler and Sedin units.
And they are going to need all those little things going right for them. And here we speak of the trio comprising Samme Pahlsson, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, reunited with the return to the lineup of Daniel Sedin after their outstanding play down the stretch — when essentially their line, Henrik Sedin and the goaltending were responsible for all those wins against mostly non-playoff teams.
Through much of that stretch Pahlsson took the defensive zone faceoffs to the left of the Vancouver goalie and while he didn't win them all, the line was certainly outstanding — not just in their main role as a checking unit, but also taking to the attack and providing that always needed secondary scoring. Hell, during that stretch...
When the Canucks re-tooled their third line at the trade dead-line - replacing the departing centre Cody Hodgson with Samme Pahlsson - the expectation was the unit becoming essentially a shutdown line as it was last season.
Some eyebrows were raised, though, when winger Chris Higgins - arguably the Canucks most consistent forward this season when he's healthy and not fighting off the effects of two staph infections - was dropped out of the top six to play with Pahlsson and Jannik Hansen. Higgins was back on the second line with Ryan Kesler and David Booth for five games, but was moved back after Monday's fiasco in Minnesota. The Canucks have gone 2-0-1 since.
Saturday in Denver, Higgins scored the tying goal and winner in overtime in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory, with Pahlsson supplying the sweet set-up pass for the 2-2 goal. In a game the Avs led 2-0 midway through, the Canucks' third line was their best...
The puck just hasn't been finding the net this season for Sammy Pahlsson.
Mind you, that could be said for most of Pahlsson's National Hockey League career.
The 34-year-old makes his living at the other end of the ice, shutting down the opposition's top guns.
That has earned him the label "defensive specialist" and is the reason the Vancouver Canucks acquired him at the trade deadline.
But on Thursday night, Pahl-sson the shutdown guy became Sammy the sniper as he scored the game-winner in Vancouver's highly entertaining 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena.
Pahlsson took a pass from defenceman Kevin Bieksa just inside the blue-line and launched a long slapshot that beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec high to the glove side at 14: 17 of the third period.
The goal was Pahlsson's third of the season and his first as a Canuck.
"It hasn't been going in for me at all this season, so it's nice to get the first...
For starters, it's Samme Pahlsson. Not Sami. Or Sammy.
That's how Pahlsson rolls, and if he's going to be scoring goals, you should start getting his name right.
There may be a few other misconceptions, too. Like anything people gleaned from that first impression.
If you thought he looked distant, passionless and generally bored and disinterested after he first learned about the trade to the Vancouver Canucks, you were wrong.
"Maybe some people saw him as quiet or not real excited, I saw a really excited Samme Pahlsson," Henrik Sedin recalled. "That's the way he is."
Is he also the guy who scores clutch third-period goals?
"That's the scouting report on him," Jannik Hansen said. "No, I'm just joking."
Not like he added the last part. What Pahlsson has not been is a goal-scoring threat. Though he wouldn't mind changing that.
"I would like to be the guy who scores all the time," Pahlsson said. "But that's not the way it is. I'm trying...
The Vancouver Canucks acquired the checking centre that head coach Alain Vigneault seemed to be coveting, picking up Samuel Pahlsson from the Columbus Blue Jackets on NHL trade deadline day.
Going back to Columbus are a pair of fourth-round picks in this year's NHL Entry Draft and prospect Taylor Ellington.
"It feels great. It's a chance for me to get to the playoffs and a chance at [the Stanley Cup] again," Pahlsson said during a conference call.
In Pahlsson, the Canucks pick up an experienced man up the middle with a reputation of being a supreme shutdown man, particularly in the playoffs.
Canucks fans might still be familiar with the blanket job Pahlsson did on Henrik and Daniel Sedin in the 2007 Western Conference semifinal, the year the Anaheim Ducks eliminated Vancouver in five games of the second round en route to the Stanley Cup championship.
He held Henrik Sedin off the score sheet entirely, while the current Canucks captain had...