It came down to one final push for the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, with an empty net and under a minute to go. Brian Campbell put a shot on Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo (23 saves) and the puck went up in the air, but the end came, leaving Vancouver with a 4-3 win and a 2-0 series lead.
Daniel Sedin had a great night for Vancouver, putting two goals past Chicago’s Corey Crawford (23 saves) and adding one assist.
The Canucks were ahead 1-0 finishing out the first period after Jannik Hansen (3 goals in last 6 playoff games) scored a slap shot 10 feet out at 7:30. Sedin and his twin brother Henrik Sedin had the assists.
Daniel scored his first of two, Vancouver’s second goal, just 30 seconds into the second period on the power play, with assists from Christian Ehrhoff and Ryan Kesler. Daniel made a hard shot from the blue line just through Crawford’s legs.
The game was getting more physical — in addition to the early hits and heavy board checks — when Kesler knocked off Crawford’s mask during a goal attempt about six and a half minutes into the second.
Chicago then began to step it up, appearing like the NHL’s defending champions, and not just an eight-seed.
Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks coach, mentioned around the 10-minute mark that the team needed to score and Ben Smith must have been listening. At 14:50, Smith put the Blackhawks on the board, scoring against Luongo, and it was a game again.
Campbell and Bryan Bickell assisted on Smith’s shot, who received the pass as he was standing plainly alone in front of the net for the easy flick of the wrist.
Vancouver wasn’t having any of Chicago’s scoring, and at 19:46 Alexander Edler made a 37-foot slapper with help from Cody Hodgson and Alexandre Burrows, putting the Canucks ahead, 3-1, to end the second period.
With the start of the third, just 1:56 in, Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg cut Vancouver’s lead down to one, 3-2, when he raked a shot off a Vancouver turnover.
Daniel Sedin derailed Chicago’s momentum with his second goal, Vancouver’s fourth, at 10:06 up the center.
Ben Smith again put the puck past Luongo from the center on a rebound at 12:50, cutting Vancouver’s lead to 4-3, but in the end, Chicago fell short.
Game 3: Sunday April 17, Vancouver at Chicago at 8:00p.m. ET
Canucks lead series 2-0
Stacey Kilpatrick is a new contributor to The Wife Hates Sports, and for the time being, will be writing up recaps of the NHL Playoffs.
KP recaps the last 48 hours of playoff hockey:
FRIDAY April 15, 2011
Washington Capitals 2, New York Rangers 0
Capitals rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth collected his first postseason shutout, saving 22 shots and blanking the New York Rangers on Friday night. Jason Chimera and Jason Arnott scored the two goals for the Caps.
Game 3 at New York – Sunday April 17, 2011 – 3:00pm ET
Capitals lead series 2-0
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
The Lightning scored three goals in the first period on Friday night, and cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Martin St. Louis added a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay.
Game 3 at Tampa Bay – Monday April 18, 2011 – 7:30pm ET
Series tied 1-1
Anaheim Ducks 5, Nashville Predators 3
Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists for the Ducks, as Anaheim posted two first period goals, holding off Nashville in a 5-3 victory that evened up the series.
Game 3 at Nashville – Sunday April 17, 2011 – 6:00pm ET
Series tied 1-1
SATURDAY April 16, 2011
Detroit Red Wings 4, Phoenix Coyotes 3
The Red Wings led 3-0 after one and 4-1 after two periods, eventually holding off the surging Coyotes on Saturday. Pavel Datsyuk led the Wings with a goal and three assists.
Game 3 at Phoenix – Monday April 18, 2011 – 10:30pm ET
Red Wings lead series 2-0
Philadelphia Flyers 5, Buffalo Sabres 4
Both teams scored three goals each in the first period. The Flyers made a goalie change, bringing in Brian Boucher, who played well. With the series tied and heading to Buffalo, the biggest question is: Will Boucher earn a start over Sergei Bobrovsky on Monday night?
Game 3 at Buffalo – Monday April 18, 2011 – 7:00pm ET
Series tied 1-1
Montreal Canadiens 3, Boston Bruins 1
The Canadiens shocked the Bruins Saturday with two goals in the opening three minutes, holding off Boston to take the first two games on the road. Montreal goalie Carey Price (34 saves) had another solid night.
Game 3 at Montreal – Monday April 18, 2011 – 7:30pm ET
Canadiens lead series 2-0
Los Angeles Kings 4, San Jose Sharks 0
Jonathan Quick pitched a shutout and Drew Doughty scored twice for the Kings, as Los Angeles evened its series with the Sharks.
Game 3 at Los Angeles – Tuesday April 19, 2011 – 10:30pm ET
Series tied 1-1
Kevin Paul is the creator, founder, editor and head writer for The Wife Hates Sports