Canucks Beat Blackhawks, Take 3-0 Series Lead
CHICAGO (AP) Mikael Samuelsson scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Roberto Luongo made 30 saves and the Vancouver Canucks moved within a victory of sweeping defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, beating the Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday night.
The Canucks, with the best record in the NHL during the regular season, lead the first-round series 3-0 and can finish it off Tuesday night at the United Center.
Christian Ehrhoff and Daniel Sedin also scored for the Canucks, eliminated by the Blackhawks the previous two seasons.
Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp had power-play goals for the Blackhawks, but it was a night of missed chances for Chicago. The Blackhawks had seven power-play opportunities overall, including a 5-on-3 in the first period when they led 1-0, but were turned away by Luongo and the Canucks’ penalty kill.
Samuelsson, who missed Game 2 with an illness, scored on a second rebound at 6:48 of the third after a first attempt by Henrik Sudin went off goalie Corey Crawford.
Ehrhoff scored on a power play and 54 seconds later Sedin took a nice pass from Alexander Edler for his third goal of the series, giving the Canucks a 2-1 lead in the second.
But the Blackhawks responded after the second penalty of the game on Raffi Torres, just back from a four-game suspension for a hit to the head of Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle. Torres was called for interference after knocking Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook to the ice behind the net with a hard blow.
Sharp took a pass from Jonathan Toews and scored on the Blackhawks’ fifth power play to tie it at 2.
The Blackhawks had four first-period power plays but converted on just one on a goal from Keith. Luongo had 15 saves in the opening period, eight during Chicago’s power plays, including three when the Blackhawks had the 5-on-3 advantage.
And early in the final period, Luongo made a nice glove save on a rebound attempt by Patrick Kane.
Toews, who got his first points of the series with two assists, won a faceoff after a tripping call on Ehrhoff, the puck went to Keith above the right circle and he fired a shot past Luongo, who was apparently screened by a teammate. The goal, just 5 seconds into the power play, gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the series. Chicago had been 0 for 5 on the power play before the score.
But Luongo kept Chicago’s lead at one. With the Blackhawks again on the power play, he quickly turned away three shots – one a great stop of Sharp – before the Canucks were assessed another penalty, this one on Kevin Bieska for elbowing. That gave Chicago a two-man advantage for 1:17, but Luongo met the challenge, even after the Blackhawks used a timeout to set up their offense. He made two more great saves seconds apart, one against Toews and another on Kane.
Eager to get a big body on the ice, the Blackhawks inserted 6-foot-8, 258-pound John Scott, who hadn’t played since March 20 and did not have a goal this season. Chicago was hoping Scott’s size would create some problems and traffic in the crease for Luongo, who had trouble with the big body of former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien when the teams met in the playoffs the last two years.
Scott was called for interference and put Vancouver on a power play in the second. Ehrhoff’s hard shot from between the circles went flying past Crawford with Vancouver teammate Ryan Kesler providing a screen, as the Canucks tied it at 1.
Less than a minute later, Edler skated down the left side, drew Crawford’s attention and then slid the puck to a wide open Sedin, who scored easily.
Crawford finished with 23 saves.
NOTES: Sedin also had another assist, giving him five points in the three games. … Chicago RW Tomas Kopecky, forced to leave the opener because of an upper-body injury, didn’t play for the second straight game. LW Bryan Bickell, who hurt his wrist in Game 2, was also a scratch. C Dave Bolland, who missed the final 14 regular-season games and the first two of the playoffs with a concussion, could be ready for Game 4. … Sharp, who missed seven games because of a knee injury late in the season, scored his first goal since March 9. He had a team-high 34 goals in the regular season.