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Sunday, November 6, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Canucks 6, Blackhawks 2

By Jesse Rogers



CHICAGO -- A quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night at the United Center.

How it happened: The Hawks were torched for five power-play goals as their top-rated penalty kill units took on major abuse. Point men were open all night for Vancouver, and several goals were scored around the net, a frustrating trend for Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. It didn’t help that the Hawks power play struggled yet again, looking as bad as it’s looked all season. Quenneville eventually tried different combinations, but nothing worked. The Hawks closed to within one at 3-2 late in the second on a beauty of a rebound goal by Marcus Kruger, but Vancouver responded with two goals before the second-period horn sounded, including their fourth power-play tally of the night. The Blackhawks’ Michael Frolik scored in the first period on a soft goal given up by Roberto Luongo, but the Canucks netminder was good the rest of the way.

What it means: The Hawks were outplayed in all phases, but mostly on special teams. If their penalty killing is going to have issues for more than one night the Hawks are in big trouble, because their power play is as lost as ever. After switching up the units recently, Quenneville went back to “old” ones to start the game and they were as stale as ever. The penalty killing is reminiscent of last year’s problems as shooting lanes opened up for the Canucks at every turn. The penalties the Hawks took weren’t very good either -- even Patrick Kane was called for roughing, which led to a power play goal. It was just the third time this season in which the Hawks didn’t earn a point, but this one stung. They were outclassed at home by their arch-rivals.

What’s next: The Hawks head right back on the road for two games beginning with a Tuesday matchup with the St. Louis Blues, who fired their head coach, Davis Payne, on Sunday, hiring Ken Hitchcock in his place.