Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 5, Canucks 2
January, 30, 2014
By Monte Stewart
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Special to ESPNChicago.com
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Brandon Saad scored two goals and added an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Wednesday night.
The Blackhawks (33-10-13) saw their longest losing streak of the season end at four games. The Canucks (27-19-9) suffered their 10th loss in the past 12 games.
With the victory, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville moved into sole possession of third place all-time with 693 coaching wins. He surpassed Dick Irvin, who posted most of his wins with the Montreal Canadiens, but also guided the Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Blackhawks overcame a 2-0 second-period deficit with four unanswered goals in the middle frame and scored the lone goal in the third -- an empty-netter by Saad in the final minute.
Corey Crawford recorded 29 saves for his 20th win of the season, while Roberto Luongo took the loss.
Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp also scored for the Blackhawks.
Chris Higgins and Tom Sestito replied for Vancouver.
The Canucks scored quickly, as Higgins beat Crawford with a backhand through the legs on Vancouver's first shot only 16 seconds into the game. But the Blackhawks controlled play for the rest of the period, limiting Vancouver to just two shots for much of the frame.
Sestito gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead at 2:44 of the second, as he put in a pass from former Blackhawks farmhand Ryan Stanton, who was claimed off waivers from Chicago at the outset of the season. However, just when it appeared that the Hawks might be down for good, they rallied with four unanswered goals.
The first came from Hossa, on a power play at 6:30, as he capped off some nifty passes with Saad and Kris Versteeg. Just more than three minutes later, Saad drew the Blackhawks even.
Midway through the second, Toews capitalized on a Canucks miscue as their defense and Luongo let Brent Seabrook’s pass from the corner go straight to the Blackhawks captain as he stood in front of the net. Sharp skated into the slot from the blue line and beat Luongo with a quick shot that put the Hawks ahead 4-2.
Notes: Center Michal Handzus returned to the Blackhawks lineup after he was made a healthy scratch a night earlier in Calgary. Quenneville said he scratched Handzus because the plan this season was not to play him on back-to-back nights. The decision wasn’t based on poor play. “A guy isn’t coming because he has one bad game,” Quenneville said before the game. Handzus repaid his coach’s confidence by assisting on Saad’s goal. The game was Vancouver’s last home contest before the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Before the game, Olympians from the Blackhawks and Canucks were saluted in a flag-bearing ceremony. Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch for the second time in three games. Quenneville said Bickell needs to show more than he did in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Calgary. Canucks coach John Tortorella served the fifth of a six-game suspension for storming the Calgary Flames dressing room area on Jan. 18. He is due to return Saturday in Detroit.