Canucks can't protect lead, fall 2-1 to visiting Blackhawks

 

 
 
 
 
Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove save on Brandon Pirri #37 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
 
 

Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove save on Brandon Pirri #37 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Photograph by: Rich Lam, Getty Images

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks proved Saturday they can play with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for 40 minutes. It was the final 20 that became a problem.

Desperately needing a victory to stay within hollering distance of the Western Conference playoff teams, the Canucks squandered a 1-0 third-period advantage and fell 2-1 to the 'Hawks, surrendering goals nine seconds apart to Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger early in the third.

Both went 5-hole on Roberto Luongo – at 4:40 and 4:49 of the final frame. Luongo had been superb up to that point.

The Canucks made critical mistakes on both goals as Dan Hamhuis passed to nobody on the tying goal and then rookie Ryan Stanton, the ex-Blackhawk, was caught up ice on the ensuing faceoff, allowing Kruger to score on the 2-on-1.

“I think we beat ourselves there and teams like Chicago will capitalize,” sighed Canuck head coach John Tortorella, who has seen this movie all too often. “We kill a penalty, we get our guy on the ice, we throw the puck away and it ends up in our net. Then, off a faceoff, we decide to go off the map and we give up an odd-man rush and it's in our net. I think we did a lot of good things but we beat ourselves in those few seconds.”

Ryan Kesler, on a first-period 5-on-3 power play goal, netted the lone Canuck goal as Vancouver's offence, which had exploded for six goals Friday night against Columbus, returned to its anemic ways. Oh, the Canucks had plenty of shots again – 37 on the night and 14 after they trailed – but again there was no finish.

Blackhawk netminder Corey Crawford made some quality saves in the third once his team gained the lead to win his 15th of the season.

“I like the way we responded after they scored and we had chance after chance but we don't score,” continued Tortorella. “Yeah, I am tired of talking about chances. We just have to keep banging away at it.”

Luongo was not happy with the Kruger tally, which seems to be the story of this season. He has a lapse and his teammates can't bail him out with a goal or two.

“It's disappointing,” said Luongo. “I've got to come up with the save (on Kruger) on that one.”

The Canucks are 12-9-4 in 25 games and have settled into ninth place in the ultra-competitve Western Conference where Anaheim, Colorado, St. Louis, Minnesota and San Jose all won again and the L.A. Kings, Vancouver's next opponent, collected a loser point.

Captain Henrik Sedin was also disappointed and running out of words to describe another game in which numerous chances resulted in just one goal and another gut-wrenching loss.

“I think we've shown there is enough offence in this room,” he said. “I know it's tiring to talk about but if you look at it game-to-game and the chances afterwards... It can't just be one game and then you're off again. We have to stay positive somehow and look at the chances we are creating but it's tough. If we don't put them away, we're going to keep losing.”

The loss dropped the Canucks' record at Rogers Arena to a mediocre 5-5-2. They are 1-2-2 on their six-game homestand and will wrap it up Monday against the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Kings. The way things are unfolding at home they may be extremely happy to get out of town on Tuesday.

The Canucks attempted to surrender the first goal of the game with some ghastly turnovers but Luongo was having none of it, his best save coming off Patrick Kane on a full 2-on-1 after a perfect Brandon Pirri dish.

Chicago then ran into some late penalty trouble in the first as Brandon Saad went off for slashing Kesler and then Shaw, on the penalty kill, interfered with Henrik Sedin while trying to spring himself free for another 2-on-1.

The Canucks made Shaw pay as Kesler slotted home a Jason Garrison rebound during the 5-on-3. It was Kesler's team-leading 10th goal of the season.

Tortorella's skaters were the better team in the second period, outshooting the 'Hawks 13-10 despite having to kill off a penalty, but they couldn't increase their lead thanks in part to their own lack of finish and the work of Crawford.

It came back to haunt them in the third.

The Canucks also couldn't take advantage of Marian Hossa's absence after the elite Blackhawk winger was summoned back to Chicago for family reasons.

Canuck right winger Zack Kassian had another tough night turning over pucks and was finally parked by Tortorella in the second period and replaced on the third line by Dale Weise.

“I make decisions on who's going to give me the best chance to win the game and those are the decisions I made tonight,” responded Tortorella when queried about the Kassian benching.

ICE CHIPS: Canuck defenceman Jason Garrison snapped a 14-game points drought with his first-period assist... Patrick Kane extended his points streak to 10 games with an assist on Shaw's goal...Canuck scratches Saturday were again David Booth, Zac Dalpe and Andrew Alberts... In addition to missing Hossa, the Blackhawks were without injured players Bryan Bickell, Michal Handzus, Mark Kostka and backup netminder Nikolai Khabibulin... Eight NHL clubs had pro scouts at Rogers Arena Saturday. Swedish Olympic team scouts were also in attendance.

epap@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove save on Brandon Pirri #37 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
 

Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove save on Brandon Pirri #37 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Photograph by: Rich Lam, Getty Images

 
Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove save on Brandon Pirri #37 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Vancouver Canucks' left winger Daniel Sedin (22) celebrates as  Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford (50) is beaten for the first goal during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks watches the shot of Jake Dowell #28 of the Chicago Blackhawks go wide of the net during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Jason Garrison #5 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on the during the play.
Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove safe during the first period in NHL action against the Chicago Blackhawks on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks steals the puck from Mike Santorelli #25 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks pokes the puck away from Kris Versteeg #23 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks stops the shot of Jason Garrison #5 of the Vancouver Canucks while Alexandre Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks and Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks battle for position in front of the net during the first period in NHL action on November 23, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks tries to check off the puck from Nick Leddy #8 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period in NHL action on November 23, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a glove save against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in NHL action on November 23, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Jannik Hansen #36 of the Vancouver Canucks tries to redirect the puck on to goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks while Michal Rozsival #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks tries to defend during the second period in NHL action on November 23, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Chicago Blackhawks' Niklas Hjalmarsson, left, of Sweden, is checked against the glass by Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin, of Sweden, during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' goalie Roberto Luongo, right, reacts as Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews celebrates a goal by teammate Andrew Shaw, not seen, during third period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' goalie Roberto Luongo, lower right, reacts as Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw, top left, and Jonathan Toews celebrate Shaw's goal during third period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' goalie Roberto Luongo, lower left, makes the save as Kevin Bieksa, right, defends against Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford makes a glove save against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler, right, of Sweden, checks Chicago Blackhawks' Ben Smith during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Stanton, left, checks Chicago Blackhawks' Sheldon Brookbank during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck ORG XMIT: VCRD110
Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford watches the puck as he gives up a rebound after making the save against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford, left, makes the save as Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows screens him during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin, centre, of Sweden, passes the puck while being watched by Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith, left, and Jonathan Toews, second left, while Patrick Sharp, right, loses his footing during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin, centre, of Sweden, watches the puck after Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford, left made the save as Niklas Hjalmarsson, right, of Sweden, defends during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin, right, of Sweden, watches the puck as Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford gives up a rebound after making the save during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' right winger Brad Richardsson (15) against the boards with Chicago Blackhawks' right winger Kris Versteeg (23) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' defenceman Dan Hamhuis (2) holds off  Chicago Blackhawks' centre Jonathan Toews (19) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' defenceman Dan Hamhuis (2) holds the crease in front of Chicago Blackhawks' centre Jonathan Toews (19) and goalie Roberto Luongo (1) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' right winger Alexandre Burrows (14) pressed to the boards by Chicago Blackhawks' defenceman Michael Rozsival (32) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' defenceman Jasopn Garrison (5) ytries to stop Chicago Blackhawks' right winger Ben Smith (28) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' defenceman Jason Garrison (5) ytries to stop Chicago Blackhawks' right winger Ben Smith (28) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' left winger Tom Sestito (29) has  Chicago Blackhawks' defenceman Nick Leddy (8) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' defenceman Dan Hamhuis (2) holds off  Chicago Blackhawks' centre Jonathan Toews (19) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
Vancouver Canucks' right winger Brad Richardson (15) sandwiched between  Chicago Blackhawks' centre Andrew Shaw (65) and defenceman Sheldon Briikbank (17) during first period  period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC., November 23, 2013.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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