The Vancouver Canucks went toe-to-toe with the Chicago Blackhawks giving the defending Stanley Cup Champions all they could handle Wednesday night in a 2-1 shootout loss at the United Center.
Considering what played out a night earlier for the Canucks, that said a lot.
The Canucks responded to their 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild with an inspired effort against the Blackhawks in a game where Roberto Luongo and Marty Turco dueled in a battle of chicken, first one to flinch loses, and it took the fifth shooter in the shootout to make that happen.
Patrick Kane dribbled a puck over the line for the third Chicago shootout goal setting the stage for Mikael Samuelsson to play hero or goat on Vancouver’s final shot. He missed the net with Turco down and out keeping the Canucks winless on the road at 0-3-1.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp had the other Blackhawks shootout goals, while Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler both beat Turco with their shots.
It was a bitter end to a hard fought game for the road weary Canucks, who have dropped four of five games and five of seven to open the season.
The second of back-to-back games for Vancouver began with 19:22 of scoreless hockey before Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg ripped a shot from the slot past Luongo and a diving Alex Edler
In the middle period Turco was tested with 10 Canucks shots, including a pair from the Sedins, but as is the case with Turco, who now owns a career record of 19-7-2 against the Canucks, he stood his ground.
A minute into the third Vancouver finally got the best of Turco with Daniel Sedin fishing the puck out of a crazy scramble in the Chicago crease and poking it over the goal line on the power play. The goal extended Daniel’s point streak to seven games to open the year, he has seven goals and three helpers over that stretch.
Luongo came up big to finish the third, especially on a Kane re-direct at the side of the goal off a Brent Seabrook point shot, and the Canucks keeper stayed the course in overtime robbing Chicago of a glorious scoring chance when Marian Hossa barged in alone on a breakaway with just over two minutes remaining.
Unfortunately, Luongo couldn't carry that play into the shootout as he was beaten by all three Blackhawks shooters. His career shootout record falls to 20-24 with 110 saves on 160 shots.
Dan Hamhuis missed his second consecutive game and Keith Ballard his third as both defencemen continue to recover from injuries; Jeff Tambellini slotted in for Rick Rypien on the fourth line, Rypien was suspended indefinitely by the NHL Wednesday for his actions in Minnesota a night earlier; Vancouver’s fourth line of Tambellini, Desbiens and Glass combined for 12 hits.