After losing their last six games, the Vancouver Canucks came to Chicago looking for a win against the red hot Blackhawks. With the Canucks opponent winning 17 of their last 20 games and riding a five game win streak, it was tall order to say the least.
To make things even more of a challenge, the Canucks are going to be missing Markus Granlund for the rest of the season due to wrist surgery. He may have been just shy the 20 goal mark, but he’s broken his previous career highs this season and has been a bright spot for this teams future.
With Granlund out of the line up, we saw some more line juggling tonight as well as the return of Jack Skille.
I can’t think of a crazier combination of injuries, illnesses and ailments to hit a team since, well, last year.
The Canucks were playing well in the neutral zone in the first period, either breaking up passes or forcing the opposition to the outside on the rush. From there, Chicago’s shots were coming from a distance or being broken up by a Vancouver stick.
It’s been fun to watch Reid Boucher playing with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi on the second line. They have some great chemistry and know where to find each other to make some great looking plays.
As the period continued, Chicago flexed some of their offensive muscle only to find the Canucks defence vexing them every time. Vancouver did well to limit chances around their own net
With one minute left, the Sedin’s chose a great time (and opponent) to bust out some vintage Sedinery. After some smooth passing, Henrik Sedin made one heck of a deflection to get the puck past Corey Crawford.
It didn’t take long for things to kick of in the second period. Within 2 minutes, Brandon Sutter scored a beauty of a goal after Jayson Megna’s pass set him up for a one on one against Corey Crawford.
Dirty dangles in tight from 20. pic.twitter.com/v9GR8r9ZKe— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 22, 2017
Minutes later, the Blackhawks went to the power play and Ryan Hartman brought his team within a goal after a quick pass from Marian Hossa found him in front of the net. What a pass.
After their first goal of the night, Chicago had their foot on the gas and were looking to tie the game as soon as possible. The Canucks had Ryan Miller and the goal post to thank for keep the Blackhawks limited to a single goal 1 in the middle period.
Just when Chicago seemed to be turning the tide, Sven Baertschi entered the offensive zone with speed. After Baertschi passed the puck to Chris Tanev near the blue line, Tanev set up Reid Boucher with tap in goal with a phenomenal pass.
Boucher's back with Horvat and Baertschi, Boucher's back on the scoresheet. pic.twitter.com/g8nVCXcooD— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 22, 2017
As the period neared the halfway mark, the Canucks were given a throwback penalty for too many men on the ice. The ensuing power play led to Chicago putting Ryan Miller to the test.
The Canucks were hemmed in their own end and struggled to keep up with the Blackhawks. They did well to get bodies and sticks on Chicago’s shot attempts to keep a tentative hold on their lead.
Chicago continued to hunt for a goal after the man advantage. As the period came to a close, the Canucks were hanging on for dear life. Luca Sbisa’s monstrous giveaway to set up Jonathan Toews Ryan Miller was a great example of this. Miller may have made the save, but the play showed which team was in control at the time.
Just over 2 minutes into the third period, the Canucks seemed to have secured their lead. When Jack Skille caught Brian Campbell biting early on a two on one, he was able to set up Brandon Sutter for the tap in and a 4-1 lead.
Sutter’s second goal of the game would also be the last shot Crawford would face tonight. After allowing 4 goals on 10 shots, Scott Darling entered the game to replace Corey Crawford.
Minutes later, Joseph Cramarossa was in the box for hooking and the Blackhawks were looking to score on their fifth power play of the game. The home team got their wish when Marian Hossa absolutely annihilated his one timer attempt.
Minutes later (once again), Chicago scored (once again) to get within one. Beating a screened Ryan Miller, Richard Panik scored his 20th of the year.
The Canucks were quickly seeing their lead disappear before their eyes and doing everything could to hold the Blackhawks at bay. They were quick to collapse and defend, but still allowed a plethora of scoring chances. They couldn’t seem to find any of the defensive skill they possessed in the first period and were paying for it.
With less than 4 minutes left in the game, John Hayden appeared to have tied the game with his fourth point in as many games. That is, until Willie Desjardins coaches challenge overturned the goal due to an offside.
And when I say offside. I mean offside by a very very VERY slight margin. Good eye Willie.
With 1:03 left in the game and Scott Darling on the bench for the extra man, Chicago scored after Duncan Keith entered the zone and rung the puck in around the boards to Patrick Kane. With Kane moving to the net, the Canucks seemed to be falling around him as he found a wide open Ryan Hartman.
For the second time this season, the Vancouver Canucks allowed the Chicago Blackhawks to come back from a three goal deficit and this game was going to overtime.
After a late delay of game penalty landed Henrik Sedin in the box, the Canucks entered overtime short handed for the first minute and a half.
The Blackhawks came out swinging, putting pucks on net and taking their time to set up around a beleaguered Canuck penalty killing unit. Luckily, Ryan Miller stood tall to keep Vancouver in yet another game where they were badly outshot.
Just as things were looking grim for the Canucks, they suddenly found themselves on the power play when Jonathan Toews ran into Ryan Miller.
With an extra man on the ice, Daniel Sedin wasted no time in earning the game winner after moving the puck around with Troy Stecher on the blue line. After Henrik Sedin established a screen in front of Scott Darling, Daniel fired the puck and it went the distance to win the game.
The Canucks may have left Chicago with a win tonight but these lopsided shot tallies show that there’s work to be done. There’s no way you can be a competitive team when you’re consistently putting up less than half of the oppositions shot total.
"We knew they'd come at us in the 3rd. Guys were upbeat after 40, but we knew this game was far from over. They play hard." - D. Sedin— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 22, 2017