Blackhawks’ four-goal outburst in second enough to top Canucks
January 29th, 2014 (AP) – Once the Chicago Blackhawks got rolling, there was little the Vancouver Canucks could do to stop them.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad each had a goal and an assist in the second period as the Blackhawks’ quick-strike offense scored four times in a span of 7:41 to rally from a 2-0 deficit and beat the Canucks 5-2 Wednesday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
“We kind of lost ourselves there a little bit in the second period. It turned into a little bit of a track meet,” Canucks assistant coach Mike Sullivan said. “It wasn’t from a lack of chances on our part. We had a 4-on-2 and 3-on-1 that we don’t convert, then shortly thereafter one ends up in our net.”
Marian Hossa had the other goal in the second period for Chicago, while Saad added an empty netter late. Corey Crawford made 29 saves.
“They’re a good team. They haven’t won a couple of Stanley Cups for no reason,” said Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who finished with 36 saves. “It’s disappointing being up 2-0 and losing the lead so quickly like that.
“We’ve got to play 60 minutes against teams like that. For the majority of the game I thought we played really well but we had a little bit of a lapse and it’s game over.”
The Blackhawks’ four-goal barrage in the second period — which came on just five shots — helped end Chicago’s recent 0-2-2 run.
The victory was Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s 693rd, moving him past Dick Irvin into sole possession of third place on the all-time NHL coaching wins list.
“I’m fortunate and happy with the places I’ve been,” Quenneville said. “Took a little while to get this last one, but certainly it’s been fun and we’ll keep pushing forward.”
The 55-year-old Windsor, Ont., native has led the Blackhawks to a pair of Stanley Cup titles, including the one last season, and also served as a head coach with St. Louis and Colorado. In addition, he won a Cup as an assistant with Colorado. But Quenneville has a ways to go before he can match Scotty Bowman, now a Blackhawks consultant, who leads the pack with 1,244 wins and former New York Islanders coaching guru Al Arbour, who has 782.
Chris Higgins and Tom Sestito scored for Vancouver, which lost its second straight. The Canucks dropped to 2-3-0 in the absence of suspended head coach John Tortorella, who will sit out one more game as his penalty for trying to get into the Calgary Flames’ locker-room after the infamous line brawl on Jan. 18.
The Canucks have been held to two goals or fewer in nine of their last 10 games and have just four wins in 15 outings.
“We have to fight through this,” said Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, whose goal-scoring drought is now at 14 games. “We’ve got to believe in what we do out there and start making plays — I think that’s the main thing. When we have the puck I think we’re too passive.
“I think when we have the puck we have to start believing in what we’re doing.”
Trailing 2-0, the Blackhawks got on the scoreboard with a power-play goal as Hossa completed a tic-tac-toe passing sequence for his 23rd of the season at 6:30 of the second period.
Chicago tied the score 3:39 later when Saad scored his 15th of the season on a sweet deflection off a point shot from Sheldon Brookbank.
Toews then swatted a losse puck in the crease past Luongo for his 18th at 10:47 to put the Blackhawks ahead, and Sharp made it 4-0 with his 27th with 5:33 remaining.
“They had a few chances early in the game and they kept on pressing,” Luongo said. “Once they got one I felt like it deflated our team and they kept scoring.”
Vancouver had a chance to get back in the game later in the period, but the league’s 29th-ranked power play, which entered the night on a dismal 2-for-36 run, failed to generate anything.
Needing a big third period, the Canucks couldn’t get anything past Crawford on another man advantage midway through the period as Toews sprawled on the goal-line to keep Higgins’ effort out.
Saad then sealed the win with 38 seconds left into an empty net.
Fans at Rogers Arena were just settling into their seats after the national anthems when Higgins opened the scoring just 16 seconds in. Canucks forward Ryan Kesler shovelled a puck towards the Chicago goal that Higgins sent between Crawford’s legs for his 15th goal of the season and third in the four games.
The Blackhawks were leading 13-3 on shots before the Canucks pushed back late in the period. Kesler had three straight chances in front of Crawford, with the final one going off the goalie’s mask but staying out.
Crawford then made a huge toe save on Canucks forward Brad Richardson in front to keep the score 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Sestito doubled the Canucks’ lead at 2:44 of the second with his fifth of the season. Vancouver defenceman Ryan Stanton moved down low and fed Sestito in front, who got his first goal in 10 games.
*Photo courtesy Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images