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game recap

Blackhawks defeat Canucks, clinch playoff berth

Ladd scores late to lift Chicago to victory; Darling makes 26 saves

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Andrew Ladd and Jonathan Toews played parts of three seasons together leading up to the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup championship in 2010, so it shouldn't be surprising they've had chemistry since Chicago reacquired Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets last month.

Ladd scored the winning goal on a drop pass from Toews with 2:27 left in the third period, and Chicago clinched its eighth straight berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Sunday.

It was Ladd's third goal in two games and his sixth in 13 since the Feb. 25 trade with Winnipeg.

"Every game, you are getting more comfortable," Ladd said of playing with Toews and Marian Hossa. "You know what to expect from each other."

Video: CHI@VAN: Ladd goes top-shelf from the left circle

Canucks forward Sven Baertschi tied it 2-2 with 5:42 left in the third period, but the Blackhawks restored their lead a little more than two minutes later.

Toews had a 2-on-1 rush with Hossa driving to the net, but Toews pulled up, cut into the middle from the left faceoff circle and dropped the puck to Ladd, who one-timed a shot past Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller high on the blocker side.

"I figured as soon as he got the middle there that would probably open up a lane and just tried to find a spot and get ready to shoot," Ladd said. "We're just starting to figure out exactly the way we need to play as a threesome, and hopefully it will only get better."

Ladd had two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

"I love the way he played the last couple of games," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "He brings that presence and has had some pace to his game and some energy, and he was rewarded with some huge goals for us."

Video: CHI@VAN: Blackhawks move the puck, Teravainen scores

Teuvo Teravainen and Tomas Fleischmann each scored, Trevor van Riemsdyk had two assists, and Scott Darling made 26 saves for Chicago (44-25-7), which won consecutive games for first time since Feb. 28 and March 2.

The Blackhawks are four points behind the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division. They are four points ahead of the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

"We wanted to build on last night's win and just keep getting points," Ladd said. "It's still a dogfight in the standings and for position, and these are the games you need to have."

Alexandre Burrows scored, Emerson Etem had two assists, and Miller made 29 saves for the Canucks (27-35-13), who have lost eight straight (0-7-1).

Video: CHI@VAN: Burrows shows off hand-eye, ties game

Vancouver was eliminated from playoff contention with a road loss to St. Louis on Friday.

"You never want to lose that many games in a row," Burrows said. "It's frustrating because we know we're not going to get in. It's going to be a really long summer. We have to use these next few weeks for the young guys to show what they got."

Darling, who started each end of a back-to-back for the first time in his NHL career after he made 31 saves in Calgary, robbed Burrows with his glove with Chicago killing off a double-minor high-sticking penalty to Toews midway through the third period.

"He had a couple of key saves," Quenneville said, mentioning the stop on Burrows and a similar sprawling backdoor save on Jake Virtanen late in the second period. "He was big, strong, quick, and he anticipated really well."

Video: CHI@VAN: Baertschi crashes the net, ties game

Fleischmann opened the scoring with 2:18 left in the first period after defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, back in the lineup for the first time in five games, kept the puck in at the Vancouver blue line. Fleischmann got it at the top of the left faceoff circle and beat Miller high on the blocker side through the screen of center Dennis Rasmussen, who replaced late scratch Artem Anisimov in the lineup.

It was Fleischmann's fourth goal in 13 games since being acquired in a Feb. 26 trade with the Montreal Canadiens.

"I am happy I could help, that's why I came here," Fleischmann said. "We didn't have a good stretch the last two weeks, but we are trying to figure it out before playoffs."

Anisimov is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Canucks were shut out in four of their previous five games, but Burrows scored when he batted a puck out of the air from the slot midway through the second period, and Baertschi tied it late in the third by driving the net off the rush to bat in a loose puck on the backdoor.

"There was some good things tonight, battling back," Miller said. "It was disappointing to let it go inside the last five minutes."

Video: Blackhawks clinch playoff berth with win over Canucks

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