Mar 21, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Brendan Morrison (17) faces off against Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin (33) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE
For a late-season game with playoff-intensity, look no further than a Blackhawks and Canucks game. Wednesday's final installment of the season series did not disappoint, as Chicago took home the win in a thrilling overtime period.
Always a highly anticipated matchup, the Vancouver Canucks, who have cooled off to 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, headed into Chicago to face the streaking Blackhawks. Including lots of rough stuff, the third period settled down the aggression, but it took until overtime to settle the score to a 2-1 final.
Early on, Vancouver appeared to get their legs back with Jannik Hansen scoring just 27 seconds into the match. Aside from Roberto Luongo's support in net, the source of the Canucks' offensive opportunities came from Chicago's early penalty trouble. One of those undisciplined plays included Duncan Keith's elbow to Daniel Sedin's head that sent the star out of the game.
The end of the first, though, would find the Blackhawks slowly creeping back into the game. That momentum would spill over early in the second, as Patrick Kane finally got the home team on the board.
Not only was the momentum spilling over for Chicago in generating scoring chances, but the aggression boiled over as well. Skirmishes came after every whistle, including one at the 9:09 mark of the middle frame that sent Zack Kassian, Alexandre Burrows and Keith out, all with roughing minors and 10-minutes misconducts. You couldn't help but know these were all in effort to stick up for Keith's hit on Daniel Sedin.
However, in their efforts to stick up for their star, Vancouver became the undisciplined team, as Chicago drew two more penalties before the end of the period -- both from Henrik Sedin. The Blackhawks finished the second with 23 shots through two, while the Canucks ended with just nine.
Both squads settled down significantly in the third period, focusing solely on getting chances and leading to the most evenly played period of the game. Without a victor in regulation, it took an overtime period to settle things. While both Luongo and Corey Crawford played out of their minds the whole game (Luongo with 35 saves and Crawford with 23), Luongo was unable to stop a laser from Andrew Shaw and just like that, the Blackhawks won their first game against the Canucks this season, 2-1.
Tacking on this win to their previous four victories, Chicago has quickly found themselves just one point behind the Detroit Red Wings and tied at 92 with the Nashville Predators -- the latter they play at home in their next game Sunday night.