The Goods: Taking care of business
After combining for 198 points in the regular season, Daniel and Henrik Sedin came together for zero in Game 1 of Vancouver’s Western Conference Quarterfinal series against Chicago.
Post-game, they talked it over. They had the chances, they just didn’t make the most of them.
The twins more than made up for it in Game 2.
Daniel scored two goals, including the game-winner midway through the third period, and also had an assist, while Henrik picked up a helper, as the Sedins led the Canucks to a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks Friday night at Rogers Arena to take a 2-0 series lead.
Only twice during the regular season were both Sedins held without a point in the same back-to-back games; the Blackhawks gave it their all on this night to reproduce that stat, but shutting down the Sedins proved impossible.
Daniel set up Jannik Hansen to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead 7:30 into the first period and he netted his first goal of the post-season 30 seconds into the second frame to put Vancouver ahead 2-0, a dangerous lead considering their history against Chicago.
In the last two playoff series’ against the Blackhawks, the Canucks were victorious in Game 1 and led 2-0 in Game 2 only to see their lead and hopes of a two-game series advantage evaporate.
When Ben Smith scored to make it a 2-1 game late in the second, fans went quiet. The Sedins didn’t.
Following goals from Alex Edler and Viktor Stalberg it was 3-2 Canucks with 10 minutes to play in the third and the game still up for grabs. Daniel, calm as if on a Sunday stroll through the park, walked into the Chicago zone and, backing Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa off while avoiding the backcheck of Smith, simply snapped a wrist shot past Corey Crawford.
It was a fearless rush, one reflective of how Vancouver is playing this series.
Still, the Canucks know they were far from perfect and despite up ahead two games on the Blackhawks, they’re the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks and no one is taking them lightly.
"We have a long ways to go," said Roberto Luongo, who stopped 22 shots. "We know that we're going to go into a tough building on Sunday and we got to be ready to come out strong like we have."
"We need to get better and better,” added Ryan Kesler, “that's what it's all about. They're going to have a push back."
DANISH DELIGHT 2.0
If Jannik Hansen doesn’t watch himself, he’ll be asked to return the Fred J. Hume Award.
Hansen, who was named the team’s ‘Unsung Hero’ in the final home game of the regular season, has not lived up to the title through two playoff games. Instead, he’s been one of the Canucks’ outright heroes.
In Game 1 Hansen scored the cushion goal, Game 2 saw him open the scoring 7:30 into the first period on a snappy play that had Daniel Sedin feed him the puck from behind the net, which Hansen had behind Crawford before the Blackhawks rookie goaltender could react.
“If you’re open, they’re going to find a way to get the puck on your stick,” said Hansen, of Daniel Sedin’s first assist of the playoffs.
“It’s nice to get the first goal of the game and get the lead and again, it’s always easier when you’re playing with the lead. We got away from it a bit in the third and it turned into a little bit too much back and forth instead of controlling the play a little bit more.”
RESPECT YOUR EDLERS
Alex Edler sure is making up for lost time.
The Vancouver Canucks defenceman, playing in just his fourth game since missing 31 after undergoing back surgery, was once again a difference maker for the Canucks as they took a 2-0 series lead on the Blackhawks.
With Vancouver wanting to establish a physical presence early and again punish Chicago, Edler led the charge by leveling Patrick Kane just 16 seconds into the first period. The home team played followed the leader to shell out 45 hits to give the Canucks a two-game total of 94.
Edler, skating alongside Christian Ehrhoff, finished with four hits on the night, and that wasn’t even his biggest contribution. His fourth career playoff goal will be filed under timely as Edler blasted a bullet past Crawford with just 13.1 seconds left in the second period to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead.
The first two games of this series, the 26th and 27th games of Edler’s playoff career, have been two of his most impactful, so it’s no coincidence the Canucks remain undefeated this post-season.
Friday’s win was the 44th all-time for the Canucks at home (44-53); Vancouver’s sellout streak hit 351 Friday night with 18,860 fans packing Rogers Arena; Ryan Kesler led the Canucks in hits with seven.