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Game 25: Hawk Hiccup

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
For 59 minutes and 51 seconds the Canucks played about as well as you could have asked them to on Saturday night with the defending Stanley Cup champion, Chicago Blackhawks, in their barn.

Unfortunately, hockey is game where all 60 minutes matters.

Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger scored nine seconds apart early in the third period to lift the Blackhawks to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the hometown Canucks at Rogers Arena.

The loss dropped the Canucks' season record to 12-9-4 and their record on their current six-game home stand to 1-2-2.

Had it not been for the nine-second hiccup, this may have been a night where all the talk was centered on the tremendous performance of Roberto Luongo between the pipes and how impressive he and the Canucks were to shut down a Blackhawks' offence that entered the night as the highest-scoring team in the league.

But in the end this game will mostly be remembered for the two Chicago goals in quick fashion that proved to be the downfall for the Canucks.

Ryan Kesler, on a 5-on-3 man-advantage, gave the Canucks the lead late in the first period – an advantage they would carry into the final frame before Shaw equalized for Chicago at 4:40 just after a penalty to the aforementioned Kesler expired.

Kruger would put the Blackhawks on top nine seconds later after breaking in on a 2-on-1 and snapping a wrist shot five-hole on Luongo before the Canucks realized what had hit them.

The Canucks had their chances to try and draw even but couldn't get anything past the brick wall that was Corey Crawford, who stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced.

Luongo finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots in the loss.

The Canucks conclude their six-game home stand on Monday when they host the Los Angeles Kings.

NO KES LUCK: The Canucks' record over the years, including this season, has been pretty impressive in games where Ryan Kesler has found the back of the net so things seemed to look good when he opened the scoring with his first goal in eight games. Unfortunately the Canucks would not manage keep up their end of the bargain. They fell to 6-1-1 this season in games where Kesler has scored.

QUICK HISTORY LESSON: The two goals scored nine seconds apart by the Blackhawks in the third period was still four seconds shy of equaling a franchise record. Chicago's franchise record for fastest two goals was set back on January 1, 1931 when Vic Desjardins and Frank Ingram scored five seconds apart in the third period of a game against the Philadelphia Quakers.

NOTES AND NUMBERS: The Blackhawks played this game without Marian Hossa, who left the team due to a family matter... Jason Garrison's assist on Kesler's power play goal was his first point in 15 games... The Canucks have been held to a single goal 10 times this season. Their record in those games is 0-9-1... This was the first time in six head-to-head meetings against the Blackhawks that the Canucks have not managed to earn at least a single point. This was also the first time in four home games against Chicago that the Canucks have lost... Zack Kassian had just 4:10 of ice-time in this game and did not have a single shift since just before the midway mark of the game.

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