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Canucks bring their best against the Blackhawks and win in OT
What better way to come out of the Snooze-Fest known as the NHL All Star game than with a matchup at home against the Chicago Blackhawks? The fun and games are over, and now it’s time to settle in for the home stretch drive, and there is no better matchup to get back into the game than against a hated rival. And with a guy like Dave Bolland in town, the hate comes easy!
Vancouver - February 1, 2012 - What better way to come out of the Snooze-Fest known as the NHL All Star game than with a matchup at home against the Chicago Blackhawks? The fun and games are over, and now it’s time to settle in for the home stretch drive, and there is no better matchup to get back into the game than against a hated rival. And with a guy like Dave Bolland in town, the hate comes easy!
Speaking of hate, the guy who embraced the hate in Boston a few weeks ago to get the Canucks a win is in net again tonight to try and quell the Hawks. Coast to Coast hate baby, gotta love it! But the big question is will the Canucks bring it like a playoff game and play the Hawks with the passion and hate they played the Bruins?
Right from the opening face off, this game had the intensity level ratcheted to the max, as it was good action from end to end with only one penalty called, and it was a weak one on David Ballard for clipping. Clipping? Once the referee watches the highlights tonight, he should be embarrassed that he made the call. But no matter as the Blackhawks could only muster one measly shot on Schneider, who declared early that he was ready for this game, but he wasn’t the only one. Alex Edler showed his speed and skill as he back checked a streaking Marion Hossa as he was sent into the Canucks zone alone on Schneider at the 8 minute mark of the first period. But Edler’s back check prevented him from even getting a shot away, plus on the resulting rush back into the Hawks zone, he had a great scoring chance on Hawks goalie Corey Crawford. But instead of a goal, he ended up getting the assist on Ryan Kesler’s 14th goal of the season. Ryan dug the puck out of the corner and was able to take a shot from the left hand face off circle uncontested to beat Crawford and put the Canucks up 1-0. It was game on!
Three minutes later the Hawks responded with a strong attack in the Canucks zone, as Schneider lost track of the puck has it came from behind his net, and before he knew where it was, Jamal Mayers flipped the puck over a down and out Schneider to even the score. Both teams played evenly well, as did the goaltenders on both ends, making some great saves to keep the score tied. With two minutes left in the period, the Canucks puck control in the Hawks zone sure didn’t lose the edge during the break as even Kevin Bieksa had got into the cycle game.
The second period was all Corey Schneider for the full period because the Blackhawks came out and threw everything they had at the Canucks net, but Corey was up for the challenge making the miraculous saves one would expect from the Ginger Jesus. It started early in the period as Schneider made a fantastic cross crease pad save on a Patrick Kane shot. Then five minutes later he once again came up big as he robbed Viktor Stalberg up close by coming across the crease to close up the net after Kane set him up with a nice pass coming into the zone. Even without his stick, he made a nice save after the rat himself crashed the crease and stripped Schneider’s from him, but the grand theft save of the night was his spectacular save on new Blackhawk and ex-Canuck Brendan Morrison. Schneider mishandled the puck behind his net and gave it away to Morrison who seemingly had a wide open net to shoot at, but Schneider somehow managed to scramble his way back into the crease and get his arm up to stop Mo’s shot! With a wide open net, and Schneider flat on his belly, he still manages to make the saves! As I said it was the Schneider show because the Canucks players in front of him were badly outplayed by the Hawks in the period, getting outshot 15-6!
The Hawks pressure picked up where it left off to start the third period as Viktor Stalberg scored on a shot from the side of the net that pin-balled around and finally bounced off Alex Edler to beat Schneider one minute into the period. Lucky goal? You bet, but luck comes and goes as Stalberg found out a few minutes later as he coughed the puck up in the neutral zone which sprung Cody Hodgson in alone on Crawford, and Cody made no mistake as he wired the puck high over Crawford’s glove hand to tie the game 2-2.
After the Canucks were outplayed in the second period, they were making up for it in the third as the pressure kept getting notched up slowly both with good pressure in the Hawks zone as well as Ballard’s and Edler’s physical play. The Canucks continued their dominance in the face-off circle which generated some good opportunities for Burrows and Edler’s shots from the blueline. The Canucks pressure came to a head with 5 minutes left in the period when Burrows took a boarding penalty giving the Hawks their second power play of the game. But just like the first period, the Canucks D buckled down and only allowed one shot on Schneider, which almost turned into a goal thanks to Salo’s well meaning but -timed clearing attempt in the crease. Luckily though, the puck bounced off the post! With thirty seconds left, Burrows had a golden opportunity to end the game as he took a drop pass from Higgins just inside the Hawks zone and let a blast go towards the net, but unfortunately it was off target. Not surprisingly, this game needed overtime to decide the winner.
The overtime period brought out the best in both goalies, but Crawford did his best to not be upstaged by Schneider as he pulled off his own robbery of a Daniel Sedin shot by coming across the crease to rob Daniel of a sure goal. But Schneider was still the man to beat, and he proved to the Blackhawks that tonight he couldn’t be beat as he stopped not one but two breakaway attempts by two of the Hawks’ better snipers, Toews and Stalberg. But Ginger Jesus wasn’t having any of it as he bricked up the net until the Sedin Duo put the game away and earned the win for the Canucks. When will team learn that leaving Henrik Henrik behind their net with the puck unpressured is a ticking time bomb, because sooner or later he’s going to find Daniel in the open and feather a pass out to him, and it will end up in the net! Which is exactly what happened at 3:37 of the OT frame to win it for the Canucks!
The Canucks came out and beat a tough rival after the long All-Star break and neither team looked rusty at all, except for maybe the home team in the second period. Again the Canucks bring their best against the best and come away with a win! Too bad all their games couldn’t be played like this because it was a hell of a game, and one that started the second half of the season off in the right direction.
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