Comeback Falls Short, Blackhawks Lose 4-3
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – The Chicago Blackhawks trailed 2-0 early in the second period, but two goals by rookie Ben Smith gave the Chicago a chance to win.
Daniel Sedin scored his second goal midway through the third period and added an assist to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks on Friday night and a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Jannik Hansen opened the scoring on a nice pass from Sedin, and Alexander Edler scored with 13.1 seconds left in the second period. Roberto Luongo made 22 saves for the Canucks, who travel to Chicago for Game 3 Sunday with a chance to take a stranglehold on the best-of-seven series.
Smith had two goals, Viktor Stalberg also scored and Corey Crawford made 23 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
Smith scored the Blackhawks’ first goal of the series with 5:10 left in the second period to make it 2-1, and added his second with 7:10 remaining in the third to make it 4-3. But Smith also accidentally tipped Edler’s point shot past his own goalie as the second period was winding down.
Chicago had won five straight playoff games in Vancouver while knocking out the Canucks the last two seasons. The Blackhawks also lost the first game both times before bouncing back to win Game 2 and the series. A couple of times it looked as if it might be happening again.
Stalberg pulled Chicago within a goal 1:56 into the third, and Crawford kept it close with a couple of great saves on Ryan Kesler. But Sedin, the NHL lead with 104 regular-season points, scored on a 3-on-2 rush. He cut into the middle, looked off the defense and snapped a low shot past Crawford’s glove.
Smith made it close again on a room-service rebound in the slot, but the Canucks survived a frantic last couple minutes with Crawford out for an extra attacker.
Hansen, who scored on a breakaway in Game 1, gave Vancouver the lead shortly after coming out of the penalty box, one-timing Sedin’s pass from behind the net. Sedin scored his first on a power-play deflection 30 seconds into the second period.
After Chicago lost forward Tomas Kopecky to a hit in Game 1, Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell left holding his right wrist injury after a hit along the boards five minutes into the third period. He didn’t return.
Notes: Vancouver second-line LW Mikael Samuelsson was a late scratch because of illness. D Aaron Rome dressed as the 12th forward. … Kopecky was replaced by Fernando Pisani. The Blackhawks also subbed C Markus Kruger for Jake Dowell. … Vancouver LW Raffi Torres can return from a four-game suspension in Game 3, but wasn’t able to practice Friday because of food poisoning.
Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.