For members of the Vancouver Canucks, such as Zack Kassian, left, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, right, divisional and conference realignment isn't a big topic of discussion in the NHL team's dressing-room these days.
Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press, Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER - It came on an assist, of course, one of those pinpoint cross-ice passes that Henrik Sedin makes look so darn easy.
And when Alex Burrows drove the puck past Dallas goalie Richard Bachman, Rogers Arena went into party mode to celebrate the Vancouver Canuck captain's record-setting point.
That assist, at 9:56 of the second period, was Henrik's 757th NHL point, surpassing Markus Naslund's franchise record, and it gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead. But the Dallas Stars spoiled the party, coming back to beat Vancouver 4-3 Friday night.
Not exactly a storybook ending to what was shaping up to be a special night.
Surrey's Brenden Dillon won it at 16:59 of the third when he beat Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider glove side with a shot from the left circle.
"Very disappointing," Henrik said after the game. "I don't really know what happened. I thought we played a good game up to the halfway point and then they took over. Giving up four goals five-on-five, that never happens with this team."
Henrik was clearly touched by the response to his record-setting assist, waving to the crowd and then applauding right back at them. It was a nice moment in what was a highly entertaining game that had a bit of everything: a disallowed goal, three straight second-period fights and lots of end-to-end action.
Henrik had tied Naslund's record just over six minutes earlier when he set up his brother Daniel for Vancouver's first goal of the game at 3:21 of the second.
Chris Higgins put Vancouver in front 2-1 less than a minute later when his shot deflected off a Dallas defenceman and past Bachman.
They dropped the puck quite quickly after Henrik's record-setting assist and the fans stood and roared their approval as the play went on for what appeared to be an eternity. All four Canuck lines hit the ice and, appropriately, Henrik was back on the ice when play was finally whistled.
"It was very special," Henrik said. "To be a part of something like that and getting a chance to get the record on home ice in front of our fans was an honour and a great feeling out there. It means a lot to me."
Video tributes from former captains Naslund and Trevor Linden followed the fans' lengthy ovation.
"Watch over your shoulder," Naslund said, referring to Daniel being only 27 points behind Henrik. "I'm sure he is gunning for you."
"From two of the guys that I think everyone knows how much they meant to both me and Daniel our first couple of years," Henrik said. "To be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys, that's special."
Dillon, the 22-year-old from Surrey, was understandably delighted after scoring the winner in his first NHL game at Rogers Arena.
"I wouldn't say I drew it up like that at all," he said. "There were two and a half minutes left, I saw an opening back door and it was a great play by Jamie Benn. He put it right on my stick. It was awesome."
It was a tough night for Schneider, who was not sharp on the Stars' first two goals.
"I pretty much gave them those first two goals," Schneider said. "You are not going to win many games in this league when you spot the other team two goals. It's frustrating because there were times when I felt good and made some good saves and then a couple of back-breaking goals at the end of the first and second and you leave them in the game and give Dallas credit, they kept working."
The Stars got a goal from Cody Eakin at 17:50 of the second to cut Vancouver's lead to 3-2. It came after Schneider lost the puck after a routine save on a shot from the point by Stars defenceman Trevor Daley. Eakin tapped the loose puck off Schneider's skate and into the net.
The Canucks were the better team in the first period, but were down 1-0 after 20 minutes. Reilly Smith, with his first NHL goal, beat Schneider high short side from a sharp angle at 16:51 of the first.
"You know, you do it a thousand times and maybe you just take it for granted it is going to stick to you," Schneider said. "I wasn't really surprised by it, I saw it coming. . .and somehow it got through."
Eakin's goal came just 11 seconds after the Canucks thought they had taken the lead.
Mason Raymond drove hard to the net to redirect a Jannik Hansen pass and tipped the puck past Bachman. But the officials ruled there was "incidental contact" with the goalie by Raymond and waved it off.
Replays appeared to indicate that contact came after the puck was behind Bachman and on its way into the net.
Bachman replaced Dallas starter Kari Lehtonen at 13:49 of the first. Lehtonen appeared to hurt himself lunging to make a save on a Jordan Schroeder shot that knocked his stick out of his hand.
Schneider made a big save six minutes into the third period when he got his toe on a Brenden Morrow attempt from the edge of crease on a Dallas power play.
But Antoine Roussel scored on a goal-mounth scramble at 12:22 of the third to tie things up.
ICE CHIPS: The loss snapped Vancouver's six-game winning streak. . .The Canucks close out their four-game homestand Sunday night against the St. Louis Blues. Game time is 6 p.m. . .The Canucks begin a four-game road trip Tuesday night in Chicago.
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