The road to the Stanley Cup continued tonight for the Vancouver Canucks as they hosted the Chicago Blackhawks in game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at Rogers Arena. If history is any indication Chicago has Vancouver just where they want them, as Vancouver won the first game the last two years only to have Chicago to come back and win the series in six games.
Daniel Sedin scored two goals as Vancouver edged Chicago 4-3 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Chicago came out strong in the early part of the first period outshooting Vancouver 7 -6 and had the better chances, but for the fourth consecutive period Chicago failed to score. Chicago’s best chance came when Jonathan Toews had a breakaway, but could not beat Roberto Luongo. Vancouver controlled the second half of the first period and scored the only goal of the first period. Daniel Sedin fed Jannik Hansen from behind the Chicago net and his slap shot beat Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, it was Hansen’s second goal of the playoffs.
Vancouver got the scoring going early in the second period at 00:30 with a power play goal. Christian Ehroff slap shot was deflected by Daniel Sedin giving Vancouver a 2 – 0 lead, it was Daniel Sedin’s first goal of the playoffs. Chicago finally scored their first goal of the series when Ben Smith was left alone in front of Roberto Luongo and beat the Vancouver goalie. Chicago started to carry the play after scoring and it looked like they would go into the second intermission trailing by just one goal, however, with 00:14 seconds left in the period Alexander Edler’s slap shot eluded Crawford and Vancouver once again had a 2 goal advantage 3 – 1. In the second period it appeared Vancouver wanted it a little more than Chicago, beating them to the pucks and outhitting the Blackhawks, by the way if Chicago plans on making this a series Toewes & Kane need to wake up.
If you thought that late goal by Vancouver in the second period was going to deflate Chicago, think again as Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg’s wrist shot beat Luongo on the short side making it a one goal game again. Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the game when he faked a pass and beat Crawford with a wrist shot giving Vancouver a 4-2 advantage. Chicago refused to give up though and Ben Smith scored his second goal of the game with about 7 minutes remaining when he scored on a rebound shot and once again it was a one goal game. Chicago was buzzing around the Vancouver net for the rest of the period trying to get the equalizer but couldn’t beat Luongo. Chicago will try to get back in the series on Sunday when they host the Canucks.
Notes: Raffi Torres who is suspended until Game 3 has food poisoning but is expected to play on Sunday.
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Written by Kevin Kelly