Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bad Breaks & Bounces Come In Loss to Hawks

It was a night which saw three of the Canucks who started the game wind up on the injured list. It was also a night which saw the Blackhawks have all the bounces go their way as Vancouver dropped a 4-2 decision to Chicago Sunday evening at the United Center.

The visitors couldn't have asked for a better start as Pavol Demitra capitalized on a nice set-up just as a Vancouver power play expired. However, the Canucks found themselves entering the intermission break down a goal as Brent Seabrook tied the game up just past the midway point of the first period while Patrick Sharp gave the Hawks the lead on a power play by having a pass deflect off the stick of Mattias Ohlund and behind Roberto Luongo.

There was no scoring in the middle frame as neither team had many hi-end chances. The best opportunity for Vancouver came with about 20 seconds to go as Steve Bernier was denied on a breakaway by Chicago goalie Christobal Huet.

Five minutes into the 3rd, Ohlund had a point shot wire off the post. A few shifts later, Patrick Kane pounced on a loose puck in the crease during a goal-mouth scramble on a power play which proved to be the winner. Then Sharp got the insurance marker the home team eventually needed with a bank-shot off of Luongo's pads.

Henrik Sedin did get the Canucks back to within a pair with less than five minutes remaining. Despite have the extra attacker on the ice for the final 90 seconds, Vancouver wasn't able to capitalize and wind up dropping their third game of their last four on the road.

The Canucks did out-shoot the Hawks 30-26. Vancouver went 0-for-4 on the power play. They are now officially 2-for-29 on the season and 1-for-20 on their current road swing.

For the fourth game in a row, the Canucks surrended two goals against while skating short-handed. In this game, the Hawks wound up going 2-for-5 with the power play.

As mentioned off the top, three players left the game with injury. Sami Salo was the first to depart with a groin injury. Then Darcy Hordichuk tweeked his knee in an accidental neutral zone collision with line-mate Ryan Johnson. Demitra would not appear in the third period after suffering an injury to his ribs late in the middle session. Take those players and add in forward Rick Rypien, who returned home with the flu, and you can bet a one or two names will be called up from the Manitoba Moose before this trip concludes.

This was my first time watching a game in Chicago. After many down years surrounding the Hawks organization over the past decade, hockey is definitely alive and well in the Windy City. The annouced crowd at the United Center was over 21,000. Witnessing the playing of the Star Spangled Banner with the crowd cheering full blast was quite simply amazing. I remember watching that on television over the years, but those times never did justice to what I heard and saw live in person on Sunday.

Now with a record of 3-3-0, Vancouver will close out the road swing on Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team will skate in Columbus tomorrow. The Jackets are 2-3-0 to start the season and are coming off a 6-3 loss on the road Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

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