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Kevin Bieksa - Shutdown defenseman

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

I think a lot of credit has been directed the way of Ryan Kesler for his shutting down of Jonathan Toews throughout the series, and deservedly-so, but a lot of that also rests on the play of first pairing defensemen Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa, who really broke out this season as a solid defensive option when many people were expecting him to be traded through training camp.

If you check out the zone starts for the Canucks over at Behind The Net, you'll find that Bieksa and Hamhuis kept a very high Corsi rating despite starting most of their shifts in the defensive zone.

For Bieksa, he was an absolute monster as far as moving the puck north goes. Bieksa finished 12 fewer shifts in the defensive zone than he started, which was the highest among playoff defensemen who had played five-or-more games.

To have a high Corsi rating (Bieksa being second on the team among defenseman) while starting the majority of your shifts 200 feet from the opposing net is a boon to the coaching staff, knowing that a defensive start doesn't necessarily mean that a successful shift will result in getting the puck out, but maybe he'll be able to generate a few chances as well.