Reporting from Vancouver, Canada -- It seemed as if Vancouver's Sedin twins were triplets Thursday when they combined on one goal and each set up another in the Canucks' 3-2 overtime victory over the Kings in the teams' playoff opener.
There were only two identically gifted, red-bearded Sedins on the ice, but what a twosome they were in giving the Canucks the edge as the series resumes Saturday at GM Place.
Henrik, who led the NHL this season with 112 points, set up Daniel for Vancouver's second goal and made a perfect pass from behind the net to Mikael Samuelsson for the winner at the end of a nearly two-minute shift. Daniel, whose broken foot in October forced playmaker Henrik to become more of a shooter, assisted on the Canucks' first goal and scored the second.
And this after the Kings defended them reasonably well.
"I thought we did a good job," defenseman Sean O'Donnell said Friday, "but great players, you give just an inch to and they take advantage."
Dustin Brown, the Kings captain, agrees. "When they have chances they're going to get points," he said. "It's a matter of limiting their Grade A chances. We've got to maybe close on them a little quicker in some instances."
Daniel's 18-game absence was jarring for both twins, linemates since age 12 in their native Sweden. To draft both in 1999 then-general manager Brian Burke made a series of moves that have paid off enormously.
Henrik, an inch taller than Daniel at 6-foot-2 and six minutes older, said he would never have been so successful without his twin as his wingman.
"Not a chance. This year with him in the lineup my points per game is way higher if you compare it to when he was out," Henrik said. "I think I could maybe be a decent player, maybe the first line, but I think it's special to play with him.
"We've worked hard to get where we are. It's not like we're just using each other to get points. Now we can do it ourselves when we have to and that's a big difference."
Daniel, who had a career-high 85 points and matched his brother's 29 goals, might have been happier for Henrik's scoring title than if he had won it himself.
"We didn't know what to expect while I was out. He did a good job," Daniel said. "I think it was good for our confidence knowing he could do it without me."
While Henrik closed in on the title — he had four assists in the season finale and beat Sidney Crosby by three points — the team neglected its defensive duties to help him pile up points. He was happier to see the Canucks' renewed commitment to defense than to see his name on the score sheet.
"I thought we played a great game. I think it was one of the best games we've played so far this year," he said. "That's the way we have to play…. They finished their checks, which they're going to do the whole series, and we do the same thing. That's the way the game is going to be played."
Kings Coach Terry Murray said he was considering one lineup change. That might be taking out Raitis Ivanans, who played only one shift after the first period.