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game recap

Virtanen scores twice, Canucks defeat Blackhawks

Gaunce has goal, assist in third period in season debut for Vancouver

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Brendan Gaunce scored the go-ahead goal at 9:23 of the third period and set up Antoine Roussel's goal 7:10 later to help the Vancouver Canucks defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.

Gaunce, called up from Utica of the American Hockey League on Tuesday after center Brandon Sutter separated his shoulder in a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Monday, got to an errant pass in the slot and beat Corey Crawford over his glove to make it 3-2.

"I just tried to get it off as quick as I could," Gaunce said. "I knew he was coming out and he was a little bit off because it was such a quick play, and I just tried to get it up."


[WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Canucks highlights]


Roussel scored to make it 4-2 with 3:27 remaining when his pass deflected off defenseman Brandon Manning, who was covering Gaunce as he drove the net.

Gaunce, who had 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 114 games with the Canucks the previous three seasons but was sent to the AHL out of training camp, said he returned with a chip on his shoulder.

"You come in here with the mentality that you're going to make a difference and you're going to kind of make them have to keep you," he said.

Video: CHI@VAN: Virtanen beats Crawford on breakaway

Jake Virtanen scored twice for his first NHL multigoal game, and Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves for the Canucks (8-6-0).

"I felt like I was pretty confident tonight," said Virtanen, who scored against the Wild.

Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored, and Crawford made 24 saves for the Blackhawks (6-4-3), who were without leading scorer Patrick Kane because of illness. Kane's 11 goals are tied with David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins for the NHL lead, and his 18 points are the most on Chicago.

"You can't replace him, but at the same time, you have to be sharper with [your] details because you are missing one of the best players in the world," Saad said of Kane, who had not missed a game since returning for the Stanley Cup Playoffs after breaking his left clavicle Feb. 24, 2015. "Definitely it hurts, but that's still no excuse to play that poorly with the puck."

Turnovers were a problem for the Blackhawks, who are 0-2-1 their past three games.

"It was self-inflicted on the goals-against," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Preventable, all of them, and they turned turnovers into the back of the net."

Saad gave Chicago a 1-0 lead at 6:56 of the first period, but Virtanen tied it 1-1 at 15:33 when he scored on a breakaway with a wrist shot over Crawford's glove.

Toews scored with a wrist shot through a screen on the power play 1:05 into the second period to make it 2-1. It was his seventh goal, second in the past 10 games, and the sixth of the season for Chicago's 26th-ranked power play.

Saad almost scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 9:30 of the second, but he hit the crossbar before kicking the rebound into the net.

"I could have had a couple more," Saad said. "A couple posts and unlucky bounces, but regardless we have to tighten up defensively. We give that team that much rush chances and time and space, and they are going to capitalize."

Virtanen tied it 2-2 at 12:24 with a quick wrist shot off the rush from the left face-off dot that went over Crawford's blocker. Markus Granlund made a backhand pass to Virtanen while falling to the ice after being hooked by Manning.

Virtanen said he's been inspired by Elias Pettersson, Vancouver's 19-year-old rookie forward who has seven goals in his first eight NHL games.

"I watch Petey pretty closely," the 22-year-old said. "You see a young guy come in and score goals, and it boosts you a bit. You want to keep up with a so-called young guy."

Video: CHI@VAN: Virtanen snipes in his second goal


They said it

"We just got sloppy with the puck. We started off pretty well, got out to a lead, but the second and third period were way too sloppy." -- Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad


"It's easier said than done, but any team that wins in this league has secondary scoring usually. You need guys at certain times to step up. It's not one or two or three guys that can score every night." -- Canucks coach Travis Green


Need to know

Toews' goal was his 299th in the NHL, moving him past Dennis Hull for sixth in Blackhawks history. ... Chris Kunitz played in Kane's spot at right wing on the second line and had an assist after being a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career the previous game, a 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 28. ... Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher left the game 5:20 into the third period after a collision with Manning, but Green said he is OK. ... Vancouver enters November in sole possession of first place in its division for the first time since the 2005-06 season.


What's next

Blackhawks: At the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)

Canucks: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday (10 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNP, ALT, NHL.TV)

Video: Virtanen, Gaunce power Canucks past Blackhawks

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