Blackhawks lose to Canucks in shootout; Dave Bolland injured
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 1, 2013 11:50PM
Vancouver Canucks' Zack Kassian, top, falls on Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
Updated: February 2, 2013 12:51AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — As far as bloodlust-fueled vengeance games between two of hockey’s most heated, hated rivals go, Friday night’s Blackhawks-Canucks tilt was a major letdown.
As far as re-energizing bounce-back games go for the Hawks, it was worse.
In a matchup that had been hotly anticipated for more than 10 months, since Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith knocked Canucks star Daniel Sedin out for nearly a month with a concussive elbow to the head, the Hawks fell 3-2 in a shootout at Rogers Arena, their second straight shootout defeat after a 6-0 start.
Compounding matters for the Hawks was an apparent right leg injury suffered by second-line center Dave Bolland, who crumpled to the ice early in the third period and slammed his stick on the boards — breaking it in two — before lurching onto the bench and being helped into the dressing room. Bolland had been doing a solid job of filling that long-troublesome second-line center spot, and if he were to miss any time, it would be a serious blow to the Hawks’ depth up the middle. Third-liner Andrew Shaw took his spot between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp for the rest of the game.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said he had “no complaints” about a possible slash on Bolland’s leg after seeing the replays, and that he’d know more about the injury on Saturday.
“It’s part of the game to play without some of your best players, some of your key players, and Bolly is one of those guys,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Whatever happens happens. We want everyone to stay healthy, but when they’re not, we’ve got to find ways to have other guys step up and fill the void and assume those roles. We got guys in this locker room that can do that.”
Indeed, Shaw actually contributed right away in that role, threading a cross-goalmouth feed to Kane, who flipped it past Roberto Luongo to tie the game at 1-1 midway through the third period, as the intensity finally picked up after a sleepy first two periods. The Hawks dominated overtime — their third straight overtime and fourth in five games — but couldn’t get a shot off during a power play over the final 71 seconds, sending the game to the shootout.
After Corey Crawford and Luongo stopped the first three shots they faced in the shootout, Vancouver’s Jordan Schroeder’s shot trickled past Crawford, and Nick Leddy — a surprise pick for the fourth Hawks shooter — shot wide. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville picked the defenseman over skilled forwards such as Marian Hossa or rookie Brandon Saad — who had a particularly strong game.
“He’s been doing it and he’s been good at it every time we go in our games, and down in Rockford,” Quenneville said of Leddy. “He’s deceiving and he’s familiar with it, as well. We’ve been looking for some guys to break through in that area over the last couple of years. It’s been kind of a sore spot. I think he deserved a chance.”
Meanwhile, there was no vengeance paid on Keith, or any of his proxies in Hawks sweaters, for that matter. Oh, sure, he was booed lustily every time he touched the puck, but the biggest — and only — hit he received came from Henrik Sedin, of all people, in the second period. At one point late in the second period, Daniel Sedin offered a half-hearted shove in Keith’s back while they chased a puck in the corner. Keith responded with a half-hearted shove of his own, and that was it. And that just about summed up the first 40 minutes of the game.
The Hawks looked forward to this game as a chance to get their swagger back after a slow start led to a shootout loss to Minnesota to open their current six-game road trip. They talked about getting off to a fast start, but came out of the gate sluggish against the Canucks, and found themselves down 1-0 after the first period on an Alexander Edler goal. Edler scored from the slot off a feed from Zack Kassian, beating Keith — who had lost his stick moments earlier — and Crawford, who finished with 21 saves in another sharp outing. Ray Emery likely will get his first start since the second game of the season Saturday night in Calgary.
So instead of getting back in the win column, the Hawks had to settle for another road point, giving them at least a point in all eight games this season. Toews admitted the sudden offensive sputtering is cause for concern, but the Hawks will take what they can get, especially on the road.
“We’re happy,” Quenneville said. “We’ve gotten some overtime games now, the last couple had tough endings. At the same time, if you get points, you’ll be putting yourself in a good spot. I liked the way we played from start to finish. I measure our team game by what we gave up, and I was very happy with what we did in that area.”