Friday’s result: Canucks 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO)
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter December 20, 2013 9:50PM
Updated: December 20, 2013 10:22PM
It’s been a couple of years now since the Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks met in the playoffs, so maybe the rivalry has lost a little — just a little — of its juice. But it usually doesn’t take long to remember why these teams hate each other so much.
“I don’t think it’s changed,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I still think that every game, it brings back memories quickly.”
More than anything else, it tends to bring out taut, tense and tight games that come down to the wire, and Friday night was no different.
Ryan Kesler scored in the eighth round of the shootout as the Canucks erased a two-goal deficit to beat the Hawks 3-2 at the United Center. In the previous seven rounds, only Patrick Sharp (third round) had scored for the Hawks.
The Hawks led 2-0 midway through the game, as Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist to continue his torrid pace. Kane now has a point in 11 straight games, and 23 of his last 24 games. In that time, he’s got 14 goals and 23 assists, moving within three points of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the league lead, and continuing to generate MVP talk nationally.
The Hawks, coming off two straight days of rest, were all over the Canucks at the start. They took a 1-0 lead when Kris Versteeg tipped a Kane shot past Vancouver goaltender Eddie Lack — Roberto Luongo got the night off after starting and getting pulled Thursday night in Dallas.
Vancouver, which was outshot 10-3 in the first period, woke up in the second, sparked by a couple of power plays. The Canucks had the first nine shots on goal of the period — yet fell behind 2-0 when the Hawks’ first two shots ended up with Kane scoring off a Michal Rozsival rebound at 4:57.
But the Canucks drew within 2-1 when Zack Kassian beat Antti Raanta (22 saves) with a wrist shot at 8:19 that ticked off Brent Seabrook’s skate. And midway through the third period, Daniel Sedin tied it at 2-2 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 eventual shootout.
The game marked the end of the Hawks’ 10-game streak of scoring at least one power-play goal, its longest in 22 years. The Canucks’ league-leading penalty kill held the Hawks scoreless on four power plays.