The Chicago Blackhawks probably expected a different outcome to their game Friday night in Vancouver. In their 3 meetings this season, the Blackhawks have won 2, one of which was a humiliating 7-1 loss. The rivalry between these two teams has been a heated one, and the game at The Rogers Arena on Friday night was no different.
A rough start to the game saw the Hawks with the game in hand, with 7 scoring chances, compared to the Canucks 3. The Hawks continued to press, but had a Dave Bolland goal called back, after Roberto Luongo was interfered with by a Hawk player. Now in my opinion, this was kind of a bogus call, as Luongo was hardly touched, but who is gonna argue with a good thing? Towards the end of the first, a loose puck managed to come directly to Christian Ehrhoff, who stepped into it, rifling it past Hawk goaltender Marty Turco, giving the Canucks a 1-0 lead after 20 mins. (During the break TSN reviewed the goal, and concluded that the play was offsides, but again, who would argue a good thing?).
The second period began right where the first left off. The Canucks began the period on the powerplay, but was unable to convert. The Hawks really began to pour it on after this, as Duncan Keith flipped a puck towards Jonathan Toews, who was able to out muscle Manny Malhotra, and put a puck between the fivehole of Luongo. Chicago continued their strong play and were eventually rewarded with a luck bounce that saw Jonathan Toews take a shot on net and hit Nick Boynton in the ass and flip past Luongo. It was Boyntons first goal since November 27th, 2009 (Whew). At 1:16 of the second, The Canucks seen a bounce go their own way, as a point shot from Mikael Samuelsson hit the foot of Hawk defender Brian Campbell, and bounce past Turco. The score remained 2-2 after 40, with many of the scoring chances going to the Blackhawks, and if not for some incredible play by Roberto Luongo, the score may have been a different story.
The third began with an array of chances by a determined Blackhawk team. Eventually their hard work paid off with one of the most bizarre goals my memory can recall. Brian Bickell had a shot from the top of the circle at Luongo, which he warded off towards the corner, but Dave Bolland chopped at the puck, and it ended up towards the front of the net. Rookie Chris Tanev then proceeded to "punch" the puck past his goaltender for a 3-2 hawks lead. Honest mistake by a young defenceman, but a different goal no doubt. So with the Canucks down 3-2, and less than 10 mins left in the third period, who do we turn to? Do we pray to KesLORD? Nah he had a quiet night. Do we put the weight on the shoulders of rookie Cody Hodgson? No, but our fourth line sure did have a strong night. Mason Raymond battles it out in the corner with defenceman Brent Seabrook, and Seabrook is forced to grab onto Raymonds shoulder, giving the home team a powerplay with less than ten mins in the game, down 3-2. Its now or never. Half way through the power play, Daniel Sedin battles with Jonathan Toews for a loose puck and slides it back to acting pointman Samuelsson, who fakes a one-timer and Turco bites. As Sammy delivers a slap pass to Captain Hank, he one times it past an out of position Hawks goaltender. So its a tie game. Vancouver vs Chicago. As a fan one can only be on the edge of their seat. 4 and a half mins to play, Blackhawk Patrick Kane, attempts to beat four Canucks, spread across the blue line. He loses the puck and The Twins and Burrows move back up ice. Burrows moves it up to Danny, who crosses the blueline into Hawk territory. He then leaves the puck for brother Henrik who moves around a Hawk defender, passes it back to Daniel on a set play. Danny guides the puck past goaltender Marty Turco, which ended up being the game winning goal. I cant remember a time where I've freaked out so much over a regular season game goal, but it sure was a good feeling.
Overall it was a game that Vancouver had to battle in the last half of the third to win. When it mattered most our top line stepped up. Funniest play of the night for me was probably Luongo and Aaron Rome running into each other behind the net, where Rome would ultimately have to come back and make a right leg save, bailing Luongo out. I was surprised that Marty Turco got away with a cheap shot to the "manly parts" of center Ryan Kesler. I mean one guy just doesn't do that to another, have a little class. Other points of the game, Daniel Sedin took over first place in the point race, with 69 points, one more than the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos. Luongos play tonight was most definitely the difference maker in this game, he was just outstanding. Most important thing was another Canuck win, and a 9 point lead over the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference. Next game is Monday, at The Rogers Arena, where the Canucks welcome the struggling Ottawa Senators.
Thanks for reading! A pleasant weekend to all of you!