I would like to establish something right off the bat. Cory Schneider played out of his mind tonight, and had it not been for his performance, it is virtually guaranteed that the Canucks would't have managed to get out of Chicago with a point.
Despite skating off with the shootout loss, Schneider turned in an incredible performance, stopping 40 shots during the night, posting a .930 save percentage. What was unfortunate for Schneider was his second period performance, a period that seems to be somewhat of a curse for the Canucks this season. But before we reflect there, let's go back to the first period when Schneider made three saves to stop Chicago breakaway chances.
Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp each had a breakaway in the first period. Each skater was greeted by Schneider, who stopped all three shots. Considering the events of the second period, if even one of those shots had gone in, the Canucks would probably be leaving Chicago with no points.
Ah yes, the second period. I know, none of us want to talk about it. But it has to be done. I'll try and get through the misery as quickly as possible.
At 6:36 of the second period, there was confusion along the Chicago bench during a shift. The Blackhawks probably should have been called for too many men on the ice. The refs let play continue as Patrick Sharp took advantage with a slap shot to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Then at 13:48, Ryan Kesler found himself with a broken stick as Chicago was on the power play. The Blackhawks showed patience, setting up a goal from Hossa to take a 2-1 lead.
At 17:15, Hossa struck again with a wrap-around goal through an opening just a few inches wide to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
Schneider would regain his rhythm when it mattered most. Hossa's second goal would be the last puck to get by Schneider until the shootout. In the final period, Schneider came up with huge saves again and again, keeping the Canucks in the game.
Schneider would finally be rewarded for his efforts. At 17:18 while on the power play, Alex Edler delivered a powerful slap shot that ricocheted off the post into the net to bring the Canucks within one. With one minute to go, Kevin Bieksa delivered a slap shot of his own to tie the game.
Despite shutting down the Blackhawks for 45 minutes, Schneider stumbled in the shootout, allowing goals to Patrick Kane and Alex Shaw. For the Canucks, Chris Higgins was the only one able to get one by Ray Emery as Vancouver's comeback effort fell short.
There were plenty of positives to take away from this game. Even if he allowed three unanswered goals, Schneider still came up with 40 saves, an impressive performance even in a loss. The Canucks also didn't quit, even as they trailed by two goals with less than three minutes remaining. You have to be happy with Edler and Bieksa coming up with big time slap shots to force the game into overtime.
It was no secret that it would be tough to defeat the league's hottest team on their home ice. Yes the second period was a nightmare. But I'd say the rest of the game was a success. Now, it's on to Dallas. Let's just not blow another two goal lead. I feel as if that is a reasonable request to the hockey gods.