Blackhawks score 2 goals in 9 seconds to beat Canucks
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter November 23, 2013 7:14PM
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford makes a glove save in the second period. He had 36 saves Saturday against the Canucks. | Rich Lam/Getty Images
Updated: December 25, 2013 6:48AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — For 40-some minutes, the Blackhawks offense looked stale and stagnant, the absences of Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell noticeable as they generated little traffic in front of Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, their offensive attack a steady parade of one-and-dones.
And when Patrick Sharp’s power play shot hit the post, then the crossbar, then the other post, well, it looked like it just wasn’t going to be the Hawks’ night.
Yeah, well, the Hawks know as well as anybody how quickly things can change in hockey.
Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger scored nine seconds apart early in the third period, and Corey Crawford was terrific down the stretch as the Hawks pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night at Rogers Arena.
“We haven’t played a low-scoring, tight game like that for the last couple of weeks,” said Crawford, who made 36 saves, including 14 in the dizzying third period. “But we’re never out of a game. We can always score goals. I think everyone in this room was confident we’d get one.”
Shaw scored at 4:40 of the third, 10 seconds after the power play on which Sharp rode the rails ended, redirecting a spinning Patrick Kane backhander through Luongo’s legs. The assist extended Kane’s point streak to 10 games; he has five goals and nine assists in that span.
Nine seconds later, after winning the faceoff, falling down, and getting back up in time to take the stretch pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger kept the puck on a two-on-one with Brandon Bollig and beat Luongo, leaving the Rogers Arena crowd in stunned silence. It wasn’t quite the “17 seconds” of Stanley Cup lore, but it was just four seconds off the Hawks’ all-time record for fastest two goals scored, set in 1931.
After all, two quick goals like that don’t happen too often in hockey.
“For us?” Shaw joked. “A few times, I guess. It’s unbelievable. Once the momentum starts going your way, you kind of roll with it, and those chances open up and good things come from it.”
Crawford took over from there, making several big saves — including a particularly big one on Dale Weise midway through the third — to preserve the victory.
“He was unbelievable,” Shaw said. “He was obviously our best player out there. He stood on his head and made those big saves when we needed him to.”
Kane admitted before the game that the heated rivalry between the two teams was in jeopardy of losing some of its mojo thanks to divisional playoffs. But games like this tend to keep the fires stoked.
“I know we’ll probably only play them two or three times a year from here on out,” Kane said. “But they’re always fun games.”
Indeed, the game started out with the quick pace and extracurriculars that have become standard traits of the Hawks-Canucks rivalry. Kane had the two best chances of the game for the Hawks, but Luongo stopped his spin-o-rama backhander early on, then gloved his point-blank shot on a two-on-one with Brandon Pirri.
Shortly after the latter save, Brandon Saad was called for slashing, and Shaw followed by taking an ill-advised interference penalty, giving the Canucks a two-man power play for 64 seconds. They only needed 20 seconds, as Ryan Kesler — who spent much of the game with his elbow in the Hawks’ sides and his voice in their ears — beat Crawford from a sharp angle on a Jason Garrison rebound for a 1-0 Vancouver lead. It was Kesler who drew both penalties that led to the power play.
The Hawks were fortunate to still be down just 1-0 after the second period, as Duncan Keith twice thwarted golden scoring chances for Vancouver forward Alexandre Burrows around the net. Keith, who’s been flashing his old Norris Trophy-winning form all season, knocked Burrows off the puck as he tried to flick a backhander into a yawning net, then got his stick on a wrap-around attempt with Crawford on the far post.
“I thought he was great,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Keith. “Awesome. Great patience, great recognition, great gap. Our defense had a real strong game.”
Defenseman Michal Rozsival, despite being on the bench, did not take a shift in the third period. Quenneville said it was just to get Sheldon Brookbank — who wasn’t seeing much time at forward — a chance to get more ice time.
Jonathan Toews, meanwhile, had the wind knocked out of him by a cross-check from Alexander Edler late in the third. He was struggling mightily on the bench, but eventually came out for another shift after the hit.
Just standard Hawks-Canucks hockey, after all.
“Some flashes of it, as usual,” Toews said with a smile. “It’s nice to get the win in this building again.”