Oh boy, we’re back to that whole, “Hey guys, we’re only going to score once and call it good,” thing aren’t we? In one of the more frustrating losses of the year, the Vancouver Canucks fell 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night at Rogers Arena. The Blackhawks only scoring came when they beat Luongo twice in nine seconds, but it proved to be all they would need on the night.
Tom Sestito nearly scored in his second consecutive game with a great chance in front of Crawford but was denied, as the game remained scoreless halfway through the opening period. A Sestito goal in back-to-back games? It would be as rare as seeing Haley’s Comet.
The Blackhawks came up with a 2-on-1 rush a few minutes later with Jason Garrison as the lone defender for the Canucks, but Roberto Luongo came up with a huge glove save, denying Patrick Kane of a goal to keep the game scoreless. Chicago would continue to put on pressure against Luongo, but dear old Bobby Lu continued to come up with ever-important stops. If you’re a number cruncher, the Blackhawks are 13-0-3 this year when scoring first, so it was especially important that Luonogo kept the puck out of his net early.
Ryan Kesler would draw a penalty for the Canucks at 17:17 (No, really, that’s actually the exact moment that #17 drew the penalty) to give Vancouver their second power play of the period. Andrew Shaw was then sent off for interference 54 seconds later after tripping Henrik Sedin, giving the Canucks a 5-on-3 opportunity. Vancouver would capitalize surprisingly easily as Kesler scored off a rebound chance created by a Garrison slap shot, his tenth goal of the year, and his first in eight games. Now, a 5-on-3 generally gives a team a pretty high chance of scoring, as it makes it quite easy to move the puck around and set up for the right shot. But with Vancouver’s power play struggles, nothing would surprise us if they couldn’t come out with a goal.
Neither team would score in the second period. The chances were there, but both Luongo and Crawford were able to turn in some nice stops to keep the score at 1-0 Canucks through 40 minutes.
In the blink of an eye, the Canucks suddenly found themselves trailing in the third period. At 4:40, Andrew Shaw tied things up with a deflected shot off Patrick Kane's backhand past Luongo. Just nine seconds later, Marcus Kruger gave Chicago the lead with a wrist shot off a mishap from the face-off after Shaw's goal that created a 2-on-1 rush that the Blackhawks were able to capitalize on this time around. Just like that, the Canucks suddenly found themselves in the familiar position of trailing with just one goal to show for.
With 45 seconds to play and an empty net, Alex Burrows positioned himself in front of the net and slashed on net frantically trying to net his first goal, but couldn’t get a good stick on it. Burrows and Chris Tanev are the only two Canucks who have no goals while playing in at least 10 games. Daniel Sedin would get an equally good scoring opportunity in the final seconds, but would come up empty as Chicago hung on for the 2-1 win.
The Canucks continue their homestand on Monday night when the Los Angeles Kings roll into town. The Kings got the best of Vancouver in their first matchup of the year in a 5-1 win on November 9.
The effort was certainly there tonight, but the lack of scoring hurt Vancouver yet again. Chicago’s entire highlight reel lasted just nine seconds, and the Canucks definitely get the whole, “A for effort,” thing here, but as a short little green dude said once upon a time…
“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda