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Sedin saves Canucks after Blackhawks rally

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- The Vancouver Canucks gave their dads a night to remember at United Center on Wednesday.

They gave coach Willie Desjardins a nice birthday memory as well by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime to end a game that featured a wild third period.

With their fathers in attendance, the Canucks (30-20-3) coughed up leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in the third but bounced back by ending the game at 1:20 of overtime on a wrist shot by Daniel Sedin. It was his second goal of the game.

"I thought we played well," said Daniel Sedin, whose second goal was scored off the only shot of overtime. "They came back in the [third], but I thought we stuck with the game plan for 60 minutes and it paid off in the end. I mean, we got the two points."

Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins and Luca Sbisa each had two assists and the Canucks also got goals from Linden Vey, Bo Horvat and Zack Kassian. Eddie Lack made 37 saves for Vancouver, which holds a slim lead for the second wild-card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

The Canucks appeared to be in complete control in the third until the Blackhawks (33-18-4) heated up, led by right wing Marian Hossa. He scored the first of two goals at 12:48 to cap a power play, which cut the deficit to 3-2 and re-energized the crowd.

Hossa scored again at 19:05 after Sedin and Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith traded goals to tie it 4-4 with his sixth goal in the past three games and 16th of the season. It was the third straight two-goal game for Hossa, who sent a 3-2 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday past regulation with a third-period goal.

Chicago got one goal and two assists from right wing Patrick Kane, who took over the NHL scoring lead with 62 points, but this wasn't the way the Blackhawks wanted to start an eight-game homestand. They've gotten points in the first two games, but are trying to close the gap on the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

"Obviously, we weren't happy with our game tonight, but it was nice to figure out a way to get it to overtime," said Keith, whose goal at 17:49 of the third came on a 6-on-4 advantage during a power play with Chicago's net vacated. "We know we're a tough team to play against when our backs [are] up against the wall, but you never want to let it get like that."

The Canucks outshot the Blackhawks 12-7 in a scoreless first period. The second period featured four goals. Kane scored 57 seconds into it for his 27th, but Vancouver scored the next three in 6:37 to take a 3-1 lead.

Two of those goals were aided by poor play in the defensive zone by the Blackhawks, who struggled to clear the puck in the first two periods.

Vey's goal, his first since Jan. 16, tied it 1-1 at 4:42 after a Blackhawks turnover led to a tic-tac-toe play that started with passes by forwards Radim Vrbata and Higgins. Horvat made it 2-1 at 6:44 with his sixth goal, which he scored by beating Chicago defenseman David Rundblad to a rebound of a shot by forward Ronalds Kenins.

Kassian, who has scored in three straight games, made it 3-1 at 11:19. He boxed out Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in front of the net and redirected Sbisa's shot from the right point past goalie Corey Crawford (31 saves).

Hossa started the Blackhawks' comeback in the third. He scored his first off a Jonathan Toews shot that deflected off Lack's shoulder and bounced right to his stick. His second was the result of a speed burst up the left wing off a rush with Crawford on the bench for a 6-on-5 advantage with time running out.

"He's one of the best players in the League and has been for a long time too," said Vancouver forward Alexandre Burrows (one assist). "He was unreal in Ottawa, he was unreal in Pittsburgh, Detroit and here. You can't say enough good things about him, especially the way he plays. Right now, he's hot offensively, but we're happy we got the win tonight."

Their fathers were just as pleased, filling the victorious visiting locker room afterward and posing for many pictures with their sons.

"Everybody spoke highly of this place [to their dad] and how good it is," Burrows said. "I've been lucky enough to be through three playoff [series here] and play against these guys as a big rival, and I talked to my dad a lot about this place, about the anthem, obviously, and how loud it can get. I don't think it was even as loud as a playoff game, but they've really experienced it all [now]."

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