San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five

Video: Breaking down the magic bounces of Kevin Bieksa’s series-winning goal

With the Vancouver Canucks taking out the San Jose Sharks in five games of the Western Conference finals the talk all up until the Stanley Cup finals start will be about the way the Canucks punched their ticket to the finals.

Vancouver won Game 5 in double overtime thanks to a Kevin Bieksa goal that defies all description. It started with the Canucks locking down play in the San Jose end. They were able to bounce the puck around the zone and prevent the Sharks from taking control of things and clear the zone. Eventually the puck was worked around the perimeter and out to Alexander Edler.

Edler went to send the puck back deeper into the corner when he fired it along the glass. At that point, Versus’ Dave Strader and virtually everyone else on the ice lost sight of where the puck went. Kevin Bieksa was the one guy who did spot it as the puck bounced off a partition in the glass right to him as he fired the puck on net to beat Antti Niemi to win the game.

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Bieksa’s shot wasn’t exactly the prettiest shot in the world as it knuckled and whirled towards the net just slipping past Niemi’s foot and into the corner of the net but it was good enough to put the Canucks into their first Stanley Cup finals since 1994. Back then it was Greg Adams beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in double overtime to send the Canucks off to face the New York Rangers in the Cup finals. Bieksa’s turn as the hero, even in the face of the wild bounces and freakish luck, will put him down in Canucks history as a hero.

Versus Dave Strader and Brian Engblom recap Game 5 and focus in on the wild play that ended the series.

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Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.

NHL key dates for the 2015-16 season

Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares
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Nov. 10 —  NHL General Managers Meeting (Toronto)

At last year’s November meetings, the GMs decided to kill the dry scrape. But these meetings usually serve as a table-setter for the rest of the season. It’s the more in-depth meetings in March where the majority of things get decided.

Nov. 27 — NHL Thanksgiving Showdown: Rangers at Bruins

The first of 12 “NHL on NBC” games in 2015-16. Click here for the full list, including the games on NBCSN.

Dec. 7-8 — NHL Board of Governors Meeting (Pebble Beach)

This is where we could find out about expansion. Will both Las Vegas and Quebec City get the nod? Only one of them? Neither of them?

Jan. 1 — Winter Classic: Canadiens at Bruins

From Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Please don’t make any “deflated pucks” jokes. You’re better than that.

Jan. 28-Feb. 1 — All-Star Break

This year’s festivities are being held in Nashville, which is a pretty fun town we hear. Skills competition on Saturday the 30th, game on Sunday the 31st. Over/under has been set at 25 goals and 60 percent effort.

Feb. 29 — NHL trade deadline

Leap day! Click here for a list of pending unrestricted free agents, a.k.a. potential rentals.

Mar. 14-16 — NHL General Managers Meeting (Boca Raton)

As mentioned, these are the more in-depth meetings where any recommendations are typically made. Last season, the GMs recommended 3-on-3 overtime and a coach’s challenge.

Apr. 9 — Last day of the regular season

All 30 teams in action on this Saturday. Playoffs begin four days later on Wednesday. Also, the draft lottery’s date is still to be determined, but should be held sometime around here.

June 18 — Last possible day for the Stanley Cup Final

Click here for PHT’s Cup picks.

June 24-25 — NHL draft

In Buffalo this year. Click here for Central Scouting’s “players to watch” list, led by Auston Matthews.

July 1 — Free agency begins

And then it’s summer.