Hawks lose 3-2 to Canucks in shootout in renewal of rivalry
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter December 20, 2013 11:12PM
Updated: January 22, 2014 6:18AM
Antti Raanta got his first taste of the Blackhawks-Canucks rivalry on Friday night. And from the moment Vancouver stepped on the ice for warmups, he was digging it.
“I liked it, I liked it,” he said. “I liked the crowd when they were booing all the time. And the national anthems were pretty nice. It [gave] good vibrations to the game and good energy to the game. I like rivalry games.”
The only thing he didn’t like was the result.
The Hawks squandered a two-goal lead and lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Canucks at the United Center, falling on Ryan Kesler’s goal in the eighth round. And it wasn’t hard to find a culprit for the defeat. In a game pitting the Hawks’ red-hot power play against the Canucks’ league-leading penalty kill, it was no contest. The Hawks had only two shots on goal on four power plays, snapping their streak of 10 games with at least one power-play goal, their best in 22 years.
“I thought the power play might have let us down a little bit,” said Patrick Kane, who continued his torrid play with a goal and an assist. “We didn’t really create any momentum off it, and they probably got momentum killing them off. . . . Definitely disappointing when you’re up 2-0 to give up a lead and lose the game.”
Kane staked the Hawks to that 2-0 lead. They were all over the Canucks at the start, and Kris Versteeg tipped Kane’s shot past goaltender Eddie Lack — Roberto Luongo got the night off — at 7:49 of the first period to open the scoring.
Vancouver, which was outshot 10-3 in the first, woke up in the second. But even though the Canucks had the first nine shots on goal of the period, they fell behind 2-0 when the Hawks’ first two shots saw Kane scoring off a Michal Rozsival rebound at 4:57.
Kane has a point in 11 consecutive games and in 23 of his last 24. In that time, he has 14 goals and 23 assists, moving within three points of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the league lead.
But Zack Kassian’s wrist shot ticked off Brent Seabrook’s skate and past Raanta at 8:19 of the second, and Daniel Sedin tied it at 2 with a spectacular goal — kicking the puck to his stick and roofing a shot over a diving Raanta’s glove while falling to the ice, setting the stage for the shootout.
It certainly wasn’t what the Hawks had in mind — not against the Canucks, not after taking a 2-0 lead and not after finally getting a couple of days off the ice after a grueling five-week stretch.
“Can’t win ’em all,” Jonathan Toews said. “We’ll bounce back in a couple of days. We’ll take advantage of the rest, but we know that after these couple of days, there has to be another level that we can get to that we didn’t get to tonight.”