There was only one star Thursday night.
One for Henrik Sedin shared with his brother Daniel.
It’s the only way their NHL careers with the Vancouver Canucks should have ended, with a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, with the Sedins supplying the overtime magic.
Two stoic superstars saluting the city with which they made an extraordinary bond.
An emotional week ended in an exciting game that was filled heart, soul and the Sedins.
When it was over, the Canucks’ greatest two players of all time said thank you, their sticks held to the sky as they did their final laps on the Rogers Arena ice.
Their fans responded, expressing this with a long ovation: “We love you.”
There was the three stars announcement and an interview with Sportsnet from the bench that made up a post-game scene that won’t ever be forgotten. It was a game in which the fans adoringly chanted “one more year.”
Only if that were possible.
The game was marked by a string of wonderful tributes, featuring lots of footage of the early years, reminding everyone of just how far the Sedins have come.
This is what we learned:
The past two games have been among the best of the season
The crowd was on fire and so were the Canucks. They fought back from two goals down in the third period and got it into overtime.
And then it happened.
Daniel scored the game-winning goal 2:33 into overtime. It was the 16th overtime game-winning goal of his career.
It was destiny. It was beautiful. And it was assisted by his brother Henrik.
The Sedins had another gear.
If there are any regrets it’s that in their final three seasons the Sedin twins never got into the playoffs.
They gave a glimpse of what that could have been when they exploded out of the starting blocks to begin Thursday’s game against the Coyotes.
Maybe it was the adrenalin but the Sedins charged down the ice on their first shift like they were 27 years old and not 37. They nearly scored, too. Henrik shot one off the post and then swung his head back in frustration.
Of course he did. The last time he scored a goal in Vancouver was 15 months ago in January, 2017.
It’s difficult to believe but it also explains why there won’t be “one more year” for the Sedins.
It was one more time and with feeling.
On the rush, the Sedins combined for a highlight-worthy goal that could have been pulled from the years they won back-to-back Art Ross Trophies.
Henrik made the play happen with some unexpected speed and some wicked edge work in the offensive zone.
Alex Edler helped by making such a pretty play through the slot he brought the Coyotes’ star defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to his knees.
Daniel finished the play, scoring his 22nd goal of the season. The best part? The goal was scored 33 seconds into the period.
Somethings happen for a reason. The winger wearing No. 22 scored his 22nd of the season at the 33 second mark, on a goal set up by Nos. 23 and 33.
Oh yes, that was some fun.
The Sedins weren’t the only ones being feted Thursday.
The Canucks handed out their year-end awards, voted on by their fans. Brock Boeser made an appearance winning the most-exciting player and Alex Edler was named the team’s best defenceman.
But former Canuck Derek Dorsett, who was forced into retirement with a neck injury in late November, was announced the Canucks’ unsung hero and it brought the house down.