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Game Recap

Canucks 7, Blackhawks 3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

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Canucks 7, Blackhawks 3
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Vancouver Canucks 7

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Alex Edler had a goal and three assists for a career-best four points, but no answers for Vancouver's sudden power-play prowess.

Goalie Roberto Luongo watched the power play perform from the other end of the ice, but still figures he deserves credit for the outburst.

Whatever the reasons, the Canucks were just happy to score early and often with the man advantage, riding a 4-for-8 performance from their power play to a surprising 7-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 on Saturday night.

"It s hard to put your finger on one thing," said Edler, who assisted on Henrik Sedin's goal 53 seconds into the game, and Mats Sundin's power-play goal 2 minutes later. "Sometimes there are just lucky bounces."

Inside the Game
“I think the power play has been getting better and better lately. We got some goals on the power play tonight and that felt really good and it’s good for our confidence."

Vancouver got plenty of those, including on the first of Ryan Kesler's two goals, a power-play pinball off two Blackhawks defensemen to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead just 13:50 into the game.

Daniel Sedin scored on a 5-on-3 early in the second period, and Edler on a power-play point shot midway through, giving the Canucks a 6-0 lead en route to their first consecutive wins since Dec. 17.

“We did have a good start tonight that was the most important part of the game," said Kesler. "I think it’s human nature to let up a little bit, but we had a good last 10 minutes of the game.

“We were doing all the right things, it was just a matter of time before the puck was going to start going in the net. We got a couple lucky bounces, but we’ll take them.”

Steve Bernier also scored to help the Canucks leapfrog Minnesota, Edmonton and Columbus into seventh place in the Western Conference.

“Confidence is a huge thing and when you play a couple guys like that you tend to step your game up," said Kesler.

Alex Edler
Four-point effort including a goal and three assists for the young Swede.
Ryan Kesler
Another stellar game for Kesler with two goals, an assist, and part of the PK that held the Hawks to just 1/5 on the PP.
Mats Sundin
One of his strongest games of the year with three points (1-2-3) and winning 10 of 16 draws in the circle.
That's where Luongo believes he might have helped.

"I let them score a few in practice to really build up their confidence and it paid off," joked Luongo, who made 36 saves. "Sometimes you've got to do that as a good teammate. You know, it's the captain's job to make the boys feel good."

The jokes are coming easier for a team that lost eight straight games - and nine-straight at home - before beating Carolina on Tuesday night and ending Chicago's three-game winning streak Saturday.

"Obviously we haven't had much success at home lately so winning the last two games was huge, especially in the fashion we did tonight," Luongo said.

Vancouver was up 6-0 before Chicago's Kris Versteeg scored on a short-handed breakaway late in the second period. Adam Burish and Martin Havlat, on a power play, scored 2 1/2 minutes apart midway through the third, but Kesler converted a breakaway with 6:51 left to play.

"It gives you a lot of confidence especially after the stretch we had," said Kesler, who added an assist, and has five goals and three assists in the last three games.

It was Chicago's second loss six games (4-2-0) into an eight-game road trip that is the longest in the NHL this season, the first time they've given up seven goals, and their first loss in 12 games against Canadian teams this season.

"I don't think we played poorly, it was just an unfortunate night," Versteeg said. "It was a couple of lucky bounces and I think that really swung momentum their way. It had nothing to do with we weren't playing well. We're not a team that gets down about losses we have enough character guys in the room."

Cristobal Huet took his turn in the back-and-forth goalie rotation with Nikolai Khabibulin, but only lasted 20 minutes and made just six saves as Chicago fell behind 3-0 despite outshooting the Canucks 14-9 in the opening period.

Khabibulin started the second period, but didn't fare much better, misplaying a long shot off the heel of his glove to give Bernier an empty net 2:08 in. Two minutes later, with captain Jonathan Toews serving a 4-minute penalty for a high stick that bloodied Sami Salo, Khabibulin made a great sliding shoulder save off a 2-on-1 shot from Daniel Sedin, but covered the rebound in the restricted area.

The resulting delay-of-game penalty gave the Canucks an extended 5-on-3, which they converted with a tic-tac-toe play immediately after a timeout. Edler, who had three assists, fed Sundin in the corner and he quickly whipped a cross-ice backdoor pass that left Daniel Sedin with an unguarded net.

Edler blew a slap shot through the legs of Khabibulin, who finished with 13 saves, to give the Canucks a 6-0 lead midway through the second period.

"Our power play scored it felt like every time we were on the ice at the start of the game," said Sundin, who finished with a goal and two assists, his best of 11 games since signing as a free-agent on Dec. 18.

"I don't know about midseason (form), but it feels like I expected," added Sundin, who also had a goal and an assist Tuesday on a new line with Kesler and Pavol Demitra that has 15 points in two games together. "I kept saying all along guys have been playing three, four months, it's tough to come in right away, but the last three, four games it feels like the legs are there."

This is the first time since December 17th that the Canucks have strung together two consecutive wins on home ice and overall, after struggling to get two points in the month of January on home ice.

“It was big, obviously we haven’t had much success at home lately, so to end the last two games [before going on the road] is huge. Especially in the fashion we did tonight. So it was great to do that and I think the boys are excited to get on the road and spent some time as a team and really focus on our game.”

They now hit the road beginning with a three-game road trip that includes three games in four nights. The team returns home for one game and ventures out on a four-game trip that includes stops in Eastern Canada before an extended time back in Vancouver to start March.

Notes: Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Buble, a minority owner of the local junior team, was the color commentator on the Vancouver radio broadcast. He was filling in for regular analyst Tom Larscheid, who was being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Utah State, where he was a star running back.

scoring summary
1st Period
Henrik Sedin (9) ASST: Daniel Sedin (28), Alexander Edler (17)
1 - 0 VAN
PPG - Mats Sundin (4) ASST: Ryan Kesler (19), Alexander Edler (18)
2 - 0 VAN
PPG - Ryan Kesler (13) ASST: Mats Sundin (3), Pavol Demitra (15)
3 - 0 VAN
2nd Period
Steve Bernier (12) ASST: Rob Davison (2), Mason Raymond (11)
4 - 0 VAN
PPG - Daniel Sedin (23) ASST: Mats Sundin (4), Alexander Edler (19)
5 - 0 VAN
PPG - Alexander Edler (5) ASST: Mattias Ohlund (13), Pavol Demitra (16)
6 - 0 VAN
SHG - Kris Versteeg (15) ASST: Cam Barker (18), Matt Walker (8)
6 - 1 VAN
3rd Period
Adam Burish (5) ASST: Ben Eager (4), Cam Barker (19)
6 - 2 VAN
PPG - Martin Havlat (17) ASST: Kris Versteeg (25), Brian Campbell (29)
6 - 3 VAN
Ryan Kesler (14) ASST: NONE
7 - 3 VAN
penalty summary
1st Period
Ben Eager  Tripping against  Mason Raymond
Mattias Ohlund  Holding against  Kris Versteeg
Adam Burish  Holding against  Alexander Edler
2nd Period
Kevin Bieksa  Interference against  Kris Versteeg
Jonathan Toews  Hi stick - double minor against  Sami Salo
Nikolai Khabibulin  Delaying Game-Ill. play goalie
Duncan Keith  Hooking against  Henrik Sedin
Martin Havlat  Hi-sticking against  Willie Mitchell
Brian Campbell  Hooking against  Alexandre Burrows
3rd Period
Daniel Sedin  Hooking against  Patrick Sharp
Pavol Demitra  Cross checking against  Jonathan Toews
Mattias Ohlund  Hooking against  Troy Brouwer
goalie stats
Cristobal Huet
Cristobal Huet
SA: 9TOI: 19:56
Saves: 6EV: 1 - 2
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 7
SV%: .667SH: 0 - 0
Nikolai Khabibulin
Nikolai Khabibulin
SA: 17TOI: 39:58
Saves: 13EV: 10 - 12
PIM: 2PP: 3 - 5
SV%: .765SH: 0 - 0
Roberto Luongo
Roberto Luongo
SA: 39TOI: 60:00
Saves: 36EV: 29 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .923SH: 2 - 3