Saturday, February 7, 2009

Canucks Hammer Hawks Saturday

The flood gates opened for the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night at GM Place. Against what had been a red hot Chicago Blackhawks team, the Canucks scored three times in the first period and capitalized four times with the man advantage en route to a big 7-3 victory.

The Canucks could not have asked for a more ideal opening twenty minutes on this night. Henrik Sedin opened the scoring when an attempted shot by Daniel Sedin hit his skate and deflected by netminder Christobal Huet. Alexander Edler picked up the other assist on Henrik's 9th of the year just 53 seconds into the game.

A few shifts later the Canucks built their lead while working on a power play. Ryan Kesler dished a great pass to the side of the net for a wide open Mats Sundin, who made no mistake sliding home his 4th of the season. Edler collected the other helper at 3:02.

The Hawks had a great chance to get on the scoreboard just prior to the midway stage of the period, but Roberto Luongo came up with a huge save with his right pad off a shot by Patrick Sharp.

Vancouver went to work on another power play before the period was out and were able to convert again. This time Kesler saw a pass take a friendly deflection off a Hawks skate and past Huet. Sundin and Pavol Demitra hit the score sheet on Kesler's 13th of the campaign at 13:50. That would be the last goal of the period and the last one allowed by Huet, who was replaced to start the second period by Nikolai Khabibulin.

Steve Bernier made it a 4-0 contest early in the middle session after jumping on a big rebound given up by the Bulin Wall. Rob Davison and Mason Raymond assist Bernier on his 12th of the year at 2:08.

The Canucks really took the wind out of Chicago's sails a few minutes later when the visitors got into serious penalty trouble. Jonathan Toews went to the box for a double minor high sticking penalty and then Khabibulin was dinged with a delay of game call after playing the puck behind the goal line outside of the trapazoid. It didn't take long for the Canucks to score on the 5-on-3 as Daniel Sedin snapped home a great cross-zone feed from Sundin. Edler gathers his third assist as Daniel snapped a home-game goal-less drought. The Canucks leading scorer now has 23 on the season and this one came at 5:41.

Edler capped off his most productive offensive performance of his career on another Canucks power play. His blast from the top of the right face off circle whistled by Khabibulin for his 5th of the season. Demitra and Mattias Ohlund gather the helpers at 12:19 giving the home team a six-goal cushion.

Luongo's shut-out bid was snapped late in the 2nd period while the Canucks worked a power play. Cam Barker was able to clear the puck up the middle of the ice though and Kris Versteeg was able to get free on a breakaway. His shot beat the Vancouver captain through the pads. It was Versteeg's league-leading 4th short-handed goal of the season and his 15th of his rookie year at 18:52.

Not that the game was in doubt into the final period, but the Hawks did make things a bit interesting with a couple of goals. Adam Burish snapped home a rebound seven minutes into the period for his 5th of the year and then Martin Havlat beat Luongo on a short-side snap shot while on a power play at 9:33 for his 17th.

Kesler capped off the scoring on this night with a hi-lite reel effort. After Duncan Keith fell inside his own zone with the puck, Kesler cruised in on a breakaway and beat the netminder with a beautiful move to the forehand. It was Kesler's third point of the night, his 14th goal of the season and it now gives him Kesler five goals and three assists in his last three games.

Final shots on net did favour Chicago by a margin of 39-26. The Canucks, on a night where they posted their highest goals-for total on home ice, went 4-for-8 on the power play. The Hawks finished the night going 1-for-5.

With back-to-back wins, the Canucks improve their overall record to 24-20-8, good enough for 56 points. The club will open up a stretch of playing eight games in eight different cities next Tuesday when they travel to St. Louis to play the Blues. Game time will be 5:30pm PST.

No comments: