Hawks score twice in 9 seconds to stun Vancouver
The Hawks and Canucks rivalry has dimmed over the last year as the teams have not faced each other in two consecutive playoff series. Tonight, however, the hockey didn’t disappoint and the game was fast and fiesty as the Hawks came from behind to take a 2-1 win. The game was fast and tight, with a battle between goalies Corey Crawford and Roberto Luongo, who went head to head and made 36 and 27 saves, respectively.
The game started with a bang, with both teams trading chances back and forth in the first five minutes, with Luongo stopping Kris Versteeg early and Patrick Kane pulling out a spin-o-rama move, with no results. The Canucks received the game’s first powerplay with 12 minutes left as Johnny Oduya went off for a dangerous two minute boarding minor, but the Hawks' PK units managed to kill it off.
Brandon Pirri and Kane had a two on one in the middle of the third, but had a Kane laser gloved down by Luongo, who made several key stops in the first.
The Canucks would score their first and only goal of the game on a 5-on-3 powerplay, with Brandon Saad in the box for slashing and Andrew Shaw for interference. The goal came when Ryan Kesler put home a juicy rebound at 18:33 in the first. The Hawks would kill off the remaining 5-on-4 as it carried over into the second period.
The second period was fairly uneventful, as the play slowed down from the first to a slower pace. The Hawks had a power play chance after Shaw drew a penalty, but after a good chance in the first 15 seconds, the Hawks couldn’t really set up afterwards. Defenseman Duncan Keith played at an incredible level that carried over from the first, denying at least two Vancouver efforts that could have easily been converted into goals.
The game was put away by the Hawks in a 9-second span in the second, as Shaw and Marcus Kruger scored right after each other to put the Hawks up by one. Shaw’s came as the Hawks clogged the crease around Luongo, which they had difficulty doing for the majority of the game, and the puck was deflected off of Kane and Shaw’s sticks after a scrum in front of the net.
Kruger’s goal came almost immediately after, and was one that Luongo would probably like to have back as Kruger skated into the right face-off dot and wristed it cleanly into the next to give the Hawks their first lead of the game.
In the remaining 10 minutes of the third, the Canucks poured it on, with several good chances that were denied by Crawford, who put on a clinic and played at a level reminiscent of his 2011 playoff run.
Michael Roszival didn’t take a shift in the third, and appeared to have an injury, though he remained on the bench. Jonathan Toews also appeared to take a hard cross-check in the third and looked injured, but returned to the game and said that he just had the ‘wind knocked out of him.'
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Corey Crawford (CHI): 37 SA, 1 GA, .973 SV%,
2. Roberto Luongo (VAN): 29 SA, 2 GA, .931 SV%
3. Duncan Keith (CHI): 1 A, 1 SOG, 1 hit
- Marian Hossa was a last minute scratch and did not play because of ‘family issues’ that sent the forward back to Chicago. Coach Joel Quenneville said he ‘didn’t know yet’ how long the forward would be out for.
- Mike Gapski, Hawks head trainer, worked his 2,000 NHL game tonight. He has been with the Blackhawks organization for 27 seasons, earning the job in 1987 and holding it ever since.
- Michael Handzus was activated off of IR today, but did not play in the game against Vancouver. Quenneville hopes to put him back into the lineup either against Edmonton or Calgary.
The Hawks are back in action on Monday as they continue their circus trip in Edmonton against the Oilers. Game starts at 8:30 pm central time.