Vancouver Canucks #5 Jason Garrison knocks down Chicago Blackhawks #20 Brandon Saad during second period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Friday February 01, 2013.
Photograph by: Les Bazso, PNG
Duncan Keith got booed, not beat up, but the Vancouver Canucks got the two points they were looking for Friday.
Rookie Jordan Schroeder scored the only goal in what was a four-round shootout as the Canucks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in National Hockey League action at Rogers Arena.
This wasn’t your typical Canucks-Hawks’ game. It lacked the physical element that many expected, especially considering the teams were meeting for the first time since Keith concussed Daniel Sedin with a vicious elbow to the head last March.
The Canucks grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an Alex Edler goal and fell back into defence-first mode. It didn’t make for the kind of entertaining hockey we have come to expect when these teams meet.
For much of the night, the most noise made was from the boos from the crowd every time Keith touched the puck.
“I think the points were pretty important here so you weren’t going to see us going out of our way taking an unnecessary penalty,” said Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa. “We were pretty disciplined for most of the night. Some of the calls were marginal, I thought, and it just shows the type of discipline you need when there is something bigger at stake.
“We play these guys a lot, so there are always times to be physical. You wait for the right opportunity.”
Schroeder got some help from Chicago goalie Corey Crawford on his shootout winner. The puck trickled through Crawford’s pads and when he turned to try to retrieve the puck he appeared to knock it over the line. It might have gone in anyway. Schroeder, all smiles after the game, didn’t care.
“I feel confident doing (the shootout) and it’s an honour to be out there,” Schroeder said. “You have to take pride in it because it can help you get two points.”
The Canucks once again got stellar goaltending from Roberto Luongo, who stopped 27 of 28 shots. He then stopped all four Hawks in the shootout and was named the game’s first star.
“It was disappointing to give up the lead in the third there, but we stuck with it,” Luongo said. “It went four rounds in the shootout, but we got a goal there and it was nice.
“It was a very tight game, not a lot of room on both sides. I thought we played our system extremely well. They really didn’t have much the whole game. It was definitely not the type of game we usually play (against Chicago) but definitely it’s the result we wanted.”
It seems likely that coach Alain Vigneault will give Luongo another start when the Canucks meet the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night in the Alberta capital.
Luongo, who many expected to be traded before this season even began, is performing exceptionally well under some trying circumstances.
“You take pride in the way you play,” he said.
“No matter what the circumstances are you want to play hard. It’s an honour and a privilege to be playing in the NHL and you don’t want to take that stuff for granted. You want to give your all and your best and that is what I am doing.”
The win was the Canucks’ second straight and improved their record to 4-2-2. The Hawks are now 6-0-2.
Edler opened scoring at 15:42 of the first period when he finished off a nice three-way passing play with Zack Kassian and Henrik Sedin. After taking a cross-ice pass from Henrik, Kassian found Edler trailing the play and the Canuck defenceman beat Crawford glove side from the slot for his third goal of the season.
Shots were nine apiece in the first, but Luongo had to make the tougher saves.
He made a glove save off Marian Hossa after the Hawk winger broke free up the middle and later made quality saves on shots by Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook.
Luongo was sharp again in a scoreless second period when he made big saves on Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell.
Patrick Kane tied the game at 9:42 of the third. Andrew Shaw delivered a cross-ice pass to Kane from the corner and Kane, showing great patience, waited for Luongo to go down before firing the puck high short side. The goal was Kane’s third of the season.
“I opened up there and it’s not what I like to do on a play like that,” Luongo said. “The pass came from below the goal-line and it was tough for me to see where exactly the guy was. Once he held onto it I started to spread out and it was not my best read of the night. He out-waited me and I ended on my stomach.”
Luongo got even in the shootout, when Kane slowed to a near crawl and tried to get Luongo to commit to one of several dekes. Luongo stood firm and made the save.
ICE CHIPS: After a day off on Saturday, the Canucks are scheduled to practise Sunday morning before heading to Edmonton where they meet the Oilers on Monday ... Andrew Ebbett, Cam Barker and Andrew Alberts were healthy scratches for the Canucks.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun