Saturday, August 1, 2015

Second-period outburst lifts ’Hawks to win

VANCOUVER—Once the Chicago Blackhawks got rolling, there was little the Vancouver Canucks could do to stop a team determined to get back to its winning ways.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Brandon Saad each had a goal and an assist in the second period last night as Chicago’s quick-strike offence turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead in a span of 7:41 to snap a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory.

“We kind of lost ourselves there a little bit in the second period. It turned into a little bit of a track meet,” noted Canucks’ assistant coach Mike Sullivan.
“It wasn’t from a lack of chances on our part,” he added.
“We had a 4-on-2 and 3-on-1 that we don’t convert, then shortly thereafter one ends up in our net.”
Marian Hossa had the other goal in the second period for Chicago (33-10-13) while Saad added an empty-netter late.
Corey Crawford made 29 saves to get the win.
“They’re a good team. They haven’t won a couple of Stanley Cups for no reason,” noted Canucks’ goalie Roberto Luongo, who finished with 36 saves.
“It’s disappointing being up 2-0 and losing the lead so quickly like that.
“We’ve got to play 60 minutes against teams like that,” Luongo stressed.
“For the majority of the game I thought we played really well, but we had a little bit of a lapse and it’s game over.”
The Blackhawks’ four-goal barrage in the second period—which came on just five shots—helped end Chicago’s recent 0-2-2 run.
“They had a few chances early in the game and they kept on pressing,” noted Luongo.
“Once they got one, I felt like it deflated our team and they kept scoring.”
With the victory, Blackhawks’ coach Joel Quenneville passed Dick Irvin to move into the sole possession of third place on the all-time NHL coaching wins list with 693 as Chicago improved to 10-1-3 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
“I’m fortunate and happy with the places I’ve been,” said Quenneville.
“Took a little while to get this last one, but certainly it’s been fun and we’ll keep pushing forward.”
Chris Higgins and Tom Sestito scored for Vancouver (27-19-9), which dropped its second-straight.
The Canucks hold down the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, but the ninth-place Phoenix Coyotes are just three points back with two games in hand.
Vancouver is 2-3-0 in the absence of suspended head coach John Tortorella, who will sit out one more game after he tried to get into the Calgary Flames’ locker-room after that infamous line brawl Jan. 18.
The Canucks have been held to two goals or fewer in nine of their last 10 games, and have just four wins in 15 outings.
“We have to fight through this,” said Canucks’ forward Daniel Sedin, whose goal-scoring drought is now at 14 games.
“We’ve got to believe in what we do out there and start making plays—I think that’s the main thing,” he reasoned.
“When we have the puck I think we’re too passive,” Sedin added.
“I think when we have the puck, we have to start believing in what we’re doing.”
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, grabbed sole possession of first in the Central Division with the victory, and sit second in the conference.
“Things went smoothly for us the first part of the season, and going through what we’re going through right now is when you find out about everyone,” said Quenneville.
“[I] still think that stretch hasn’t been bad, but it feels so much better when you have that type of effort and get a result, as well.”
With the Canucks set to begin a five-game road trip tomorrow night that will take them into the Olympic break, players from both teams heading to the Games in Sochi, Russia were honoured before the opening face-off.
Elsewhere in the NHL, Edmonton blanked San Jose 3-0 on Ben Scrivens’ 59 saves and the N.Y. Rangers edged the N.Y. Islanders 2-1 outside at Yankee Stadium.

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