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Sweet revenge

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 3-2 win over Chicago.

...the Canucks scored a pair of goals just over three minutes apart with less than eight minutes to play in the third period.

Michael Grabner tied the game up with his first career NHL goal before Mikael Samuelsson beat Antti Niemi to give Vancouver its first lead of the game, one the visitors wouldn’t relinquish.

The Canucks improve to 1-4-0 on the road with the win and even though the players may not admit it, this W is even sweeter because it came against the Blackhawks.

In signing Mikael Samuelsson as a free agent this past summer, the Canucks thought they were adding secondary scoring to the team. Little did they know that Samuelsson was hungry for more.

The 32-year-old Swedish forward, who has skated on the first and second lines this season, has been part of the top threesome since Daniel Sedin went down and he has yet to disappoint. Samuelsson’s game-winner against Chicago, which came on a play when he picked off a poor passing play in the Blackhawks zone before finding a hole in Niemi, was his second game-winner in the past three outings.

Samuelsson also assisted on the game’s first goal by Steve Bernier; he now sits second in team scoring with nine points (5-4-9) in nine games.

Michael Grabner chose a perfect time to score his first NHL goal.

In just his fourth game with the Canucks Grabner got the monkey off his back by snapping a shot past Niemi blocker side on the power play with 7:44 to play in the third period.

Scoring the first goal of your career is special anytime, but Grabner had a big crowd of supporters on hand as the Manitoba Moose were in town preparing to face the Chicago Wolves on Friday and they managed to catch the game.

One hit dished out in this contest will be talked about for the rest of the season. Willie Mitchell was the KA and Jonathan Toews was the BOOM as Mitchell caught the youngster with his head down breezing through centre ice. Mitchell lowered his right shoulder and introduced Toews to the Blackhawks logo on the ice below.

Toews, rattled to his core, got up and skated a few feet before falling to the ice again. He had to be helped to the bench and eventually the dressing room. He did not return to the game.

Mikael Samuelsson, on Vancouver's first road win of the season and the play that led to his game-winning goal.

"It means a lot to the group, everybody knows we hadn’t won on the road and this was a good win. We struggled a little bit but once again we came back from their lead, so that was huge.

"Somebody missed a dropped pass there and I got it and just took a whack at it and I got a bit lucky there, I got it on my skate. This ice wasn’t the best so you’ve got to be sharp with the puck and work for it all the time because you never know when it might jump onto your stick. Things like that happen."

This was Vancouver’s first road win of the season and it came with the team putting forth another win-worthy effort. For the third time in as many games the Canucks outplayed their opposition, only on this night they got the bounces, which included the scramble that led to Bernier’s third goal of the season and the puck luck that came with the Blackhawks narrowly missing the net on a scoring chance in the dying seconds of the game.

The Canucks are now 4-5-0 on the season.

Who better to help extend Vancouver’s winning streak to two games than the winless Toronto Maple Leafs?

The NHL’s only winless squad invades GM Place Saturday afternoon during a special 4 p.m. start and along with the performers will come the circus. The East will be well represented when the Canucks and Leafs faceoff; last year Vancouver fans were arguably out cheered by those in blue and white.

NUMBERS

1 – Road win for the Canucks in five attempts this season.

1 – Career NHL goal for Michael Grabner.

2 – Points for Mikael Samuelsson on the night, he assisted on Steve Bernier's third goal of the season before scoring the game-winner in the third.

13 – Career game-winners for Samuelsson; two with Vancouver.

18 – Saves for Roberto Luongo in his return to Chicago.

OFFENCE

The Canucks have played with a lot more spunk these past few games and it all startes with a productive opening period. Although Vancouver had only six shots in the first, a few were solid scoring chances and the Canucks rallied from that momentum.

Overall the Canucks outshot the Blackhawks 31-20 and once again were dangerous on offence with the first three lines producing numerous scoring chances.

DEFENCE

Roberto Luongo was screened on the first Chicago goal, the second was a weaselly redirect from the side of the goal. Other than that the last line of defence was bulletproof making 18 saves.

Willie Mitchell gets another mention for his incredible hit on Jonathan Toews that bolted some life into the Canucks.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vancouver's first and second goals were both scored on the power play; the Bernier goal ended a streak of 10 straight man advantages without a score for the Canucks.

The Canucks blanked the Blackhawks on the kill going 4-for-4.

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