-- History did not repeat itself Friday night at Rogers Arena, as the Canucks proved that the third time against the Chicago Blackhawks
is indeed the charm.
assisted on Vancouver's first goal and scored on two of his four shots, with his second proving to be the game-winner, to pace the Canucks to a 4-3 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference Quarterfinal series. Game 3 is Sunday at United Center in Chicago.
The Blackhawks were 2-0 in Game 2s against Vancouver over the previous two years and went on to win both series' in six games, but this year the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks look like they may finally be poised to make a long playoff run while last year's Stanley Cup champs may be showing signs of exhaustion.
Vancouver won Game 1 without a Sedin on the scoresheet. It won Game 2 with the Sedins leading the charge. Henrik Sedin
added an assist and four shots on goal.
"I think they wanted more from there game than the first game and they came out and proved they're quality players," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of the Sedins. "We need them to play well and they did. They've had a lot of games like that."
Chicago showed some pushback in the second half of Friday's game. The Hawks sliced Vancouver's lead in half three different times on a pair of goals by rookie Ben Smith
and one by Viktor Stalberg
-- but every time the Blackhawks got close the Canucks' stole the momentum right back.
"Sometimes it's not always about playing with the lead," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews
said. "It's not going to be a perfect game, especially on the road. We just kept giving them consistent scoring chances and let them run away with the game. Every time you get a goal and try to come back, you pull within one, you get momentum and we just found ways to give it back to them."
Just over nine minutes after Stalberg made it 3-2, Daniel Sedin
got it back for the Canucks with a shot from the left hash off the rush with 9:54 to play. A hard net drive by Alexandre Burrows
and Christian Ehrhoff forced Duncan Keith
to back off Sedin and that opened his shooting lane.
"Huge for us," is how Henrik Sedin
described his brother's second goal of the night. "There's a lot of minutes left in the game and we know what they can do if we're sitting back for a bit. That's a moment when you can sit back on your heels and they would have taken it to us. Danny made a great shot."
Less than five minutes after Smith's first goal of the night cut the deficit to 2-1 with 5:10 to play in the second, Alex Edler scored on a point shot that went in off of Smith's stick with 13 seconds left in the second period.
Smith said he was at fault for not sacrificing his body to block the shot.
"The stick shouldn't be in the lane, the body should," Smith said. "That was a tough one, especially with 13 seconds left. At playoff time you have to sacrifice the body and I just didn't get in front of that one. It's pretty disappointing."
Smith got it back when he scored with 7:10 remaining to make it 4-3. There were no whistles in the final 6:05 of the game as the Hawks put on a frantic, fast-paced push for the equalizer, but Roberto Luongo
made three saves in the final 30 seconds to preserve the victory. Luongo finished with 23 saves.
"They're not the Stanley Cup champions for nothing," Luongo said. "We didn't expect them to keel over or roll over there. They were coming strong and obviously Danny scored a huge goal for us."
The difference turned out to be Daniel Sedin
's second goal, but that spoke to the bigger story Friday night: Vancouver's stars showed up and produced. Chicago's stars were held off the scoresheet again.
, Marian Hossa
and Patrick Kane
combined for nine shots on goal. Toews didn't have any, and early in the game he fumbled a breakaway attempt that could have enabled Chicago to grab a lead for the first time in the series. Instead, the puck instead squirted off Toews' stick and slid slowly and harmlessly into the end boards.
Toews has just 1 goal and no assists in the last nine games.
"No, I'm not going to get frustrated," Toews said almost defiantly. "It's not fun when you're working as hard as you can and it seems when you're getting close to the net that pucks are bouncing off your sticks or shots are getting blocked. We've got to find a way. No frustration, no excuses."
The other difference Friday was special teams.
Vancouver had only two power-play opportunities, but it cashed in on one of them when Daniel Sedin
scored 30 seconds into the second period to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead. Sharp was called for tripping Ehrhoff after the whistle and the penalty carried into the second period.
Chicago also had two power-play chances, but the Blackhawks didn't even register a shot on goal in the four minutes with the extra man. In fact, the best scoring chance during either Chicago power play came off the stick of Ryan Kesler
in the second period when he was all alone in the slot and fired a shot into Hawks goalie Corey Crawford
"That's what I would say would be the most frustrating part," Toews said of the power play. "We get a couple of opportunities, especially early, and they get more scoring chances than we do. So, I don't know."
Vancouver scored its first goal 27 seconds after completing its first penalty kill. Jannik Hansen
, who was in the box serving a holding minor, dashed through the right circle and cashed in with a one-timer after Daniel Sedin
found him with a picture-perfect pass from behind the Blackhawks' net.
"We need more from our top guys," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Canucks don't, and that's why they're taking a 2-0 lead with them on their flight to Chicago.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl