|CHI||0||1||2||(0 - 0)||3|
|VAN||3||3||1||(0 - 0)||7|
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Alex Edler had a goal and three assists for a career-best four points, but no answers for Vancouver's sudden power-play prowess.
Goalie Roberto Luongo watched the power play perform from the other end of the ice, but still figures he deserves credit for the outburst.
Whatever the reasons, the Canucks were just happy to score early and often with the man advantage, riding a 4-for-8 performance from their power play to a surprising 7-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 on Saturday night.
"It s hard to put your finger on one thing," said Edler, who assisted on Henrik Sedin's goal 53 seconds into the game, and Mats Sundin's power-play goal 2 minutes later. "Sometimes there are just lucky bounces."
Vancouver got plenty of those, including on the first of Ryan Kesler's two goals, a power-play pinball off two Blackhawks defensemen to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead just 13:50 into the game. Daniel Sedin scored on a 5-on-3 early in the second period, and Edler on a power-play point shot midway through, giving the Canucks a 6-0 lead en route to their first consecutive wins since Dec. 17.
Steve Bernier also scored to help the Canucks leapfrog Minnesota, Edmonton and Columbus into seventh place in the Western Conference.
"We had a good practice yesterday," Edler said about the power play.
That's where Luongo believes he might have helped.
"I let them score a few in practice to really build up their confidence and it paid off," joked Luongo, who made 36 saves. "Sometimes you've got to do that as a good teammate. You know, it's the captain's job to make the boys feel good."
The jokes are coming easier for a team that lost eight straight games - and nine-straight at home - before beating Carolina on Tuesday night and ending Chicago's three-game winning streak Saturday.
"Obviously we haven't had much success at home lately so winning the last two games was huge, especially in the fashion we did tonight," Luongo said.
Vancouver was up 6-0 before Chicago's Kris Versteeg scored on a short-handed breakaway late in the second period. Adam Burish and Martin Havlat, on a power play, scored 2 1/2 minutes apart midway through the third, but Kesler converted a breakaway with 6:51 left to play.
"It gives you a lot of confidence especially after the stretch we had," said Kesler, who added an assist, and has five goals and three assists in the last three games.
It was Chicago's second loss six games (4-2-0) into an eight-game road trip that is the longest in the NHL this season, the first time they've given up seven goals, and their first loss in 12 games against Canadian teams this season.
"I don't think we played poorly, it was just an unfortunate night," Versteeg said. "It was a couple of lucky bounces and I think that really swung momentum their way. It had nothing to do with we weren't playing well. We're not a team that gets down about losses we have enough character guys in the room."
Cristobal Huet took his turn in the back-and-forth goalie rotation with Nikolai Khabibulin, but only lasted 20 minutes and made just six saves as Chicago fell behind 3-0 despite outshooting the Canucks 14-9 in the opening period.
Khabibulin started the second period, but didn't fare much better, misplaying a long shot off the heel of his glove to give Bernier an empty net 2:08 in. Two minutes later, with captain Jonathan Toews serving a 4-minute penalty for a high stick that bloodied Sami Salo, Khabibulin made a great sliding shoulder save off a 2-on-1 shot from Daniel Sedin, but covered the rebound in the restricted area.
The resulting delay-of-game penalty gave the Canucks an extended 5-on-3, which they converted with a tic-tac-toe play immediately after a timeout. Edler, who had three assists, fed Sundin in the corner and he quickly whipped a cross-ice backdoor pass that left Daniel Sedin with an unguarded net.
Edler blew a slap shot through the legs of Khabibulin, who finished with 13 saves, to give the Canucks a 6-0 lead midway through the second period.
"Our power play scored it felt like every time we were on the ice at the start of the game," said Sundin, who finished with a goal and two assists, his best of 11 games since signing a free-agent deal worth $5.2-million on Dec. 18.
"I don't know about midseason (form), but it feels like I expected," added Sundin, who also had a goal and an assist Tuesday on a new line with Kesler and Pavol Demitra that has 15 points in two games together. "I kept saying all along guys have been playing three, four months, it's tough to come in right away, but the last three, four games it feels like the legs are there."
Notes: Grammy Award-winning singer Michael Buble, a minority owner of the local junior team, was the color commentator on the Vancouver radio broadcast. He was filling in for regular analyst Tom Larscheid, who was being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Utah State, where he was a star running back.
|Henrik Sedin (9) Tip-in - ASST: Daniel Sedin (28), Alexander Edler (17)|
1 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Mats Sundin (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Ryan Kesler (19), Alexander Edler (18)|
2 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Ryan Kesler (13) Deflected shot - ASST: Mats Sundin (3), Pavol Demitra (15)|
3 - 0 VAN
|Steve Bernier (12) Backhand shot - ASST: Rob Davison (2), Mason Raymond (11)|
4 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Daniel Sedin (23) Wrist shot - ASST: Mats Sundin (4), Alexander Edler (19)|
5 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Alexander Edler (5) Slapshot - ASST: Mattias Ohlund (13), Pavol Demitra (16)|
6 - 0 VAN
|SHG - Kris Versteeg (15) Wrist shot - ASST: Cam Barker (18), Matt Walker (8)|
6 - 1 VAN
|Adam Burish (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Ben Eager (4), Cam Barker (19)|
6 - 2 VAN
|PPG - Marty Havlat (17) Wrist shot - ASST: Kris Versteeg (25), Brian Campbell (29)|
6 - 3 VAN
|Ryan Kesler (14) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
7 - 3 VAN
|Ben Eager Tripping against Mason Raymond|
|Mattias Ohlund Holding against Kris Versteeg|
|Adam Burish Holding against Alexander Edler|
|Kevin Bieksa Interference against Kris Versteeg|
|Jonathan Toews Hi stick - double minor against Sami Salo|
|Nikolai Khabibulin Delaying Game-Ill. play goalie|
|Duncan Keith Hooking against Henrik Sedin|
|Marty Havlat Hi-sticking against Willie Mitchell|
|Brian Campbell Hooking against Alexandre Burrows|
|Daniel Sedin Hooking against Patrick Sharp|
|Pavol Demitra Cross checking against Jonathan Toews|
|Mattias Ohlund Hooking against Troy Brouwer|