Hot Power Play
The Vancouver Canucks entered the United Center for the first time since last year’s intense playoff matchup and continued their post-season pace, putting goals past Cory Crawford in bunches on their way to a 6-2 victory.
Roberto Luongo did his best to allow the Blackhawks back into the game late in the first period, but Vancouver’s power play remained in top gear all night, firing five power play markers past Crawford and the Blackhawks.
Despite a sizeable advantage in performance at even strength this season, the Blackhawks were unable to keep their emotions in check for most of the game, giving the Canucks six juicy power play opportunities throughout the contest.
Sunday’s parade to the penalty box allowed even the coldest of Canucks shooters to warm up out of their slump.
After struggling alongside the Sedins Friday versus the St. Louis Blues, Hansen began to show his Swedish side Sunday becoming more involved in the cycle and connecting with the Sedins on a number of passing plays.
Hansen will have three days to learn from the Twins as the Canucks travel to the West coast to play in Anaheim and Los Angeles during a back-to-back stretch later this week.
The time also gives Alex Burrows a chance to rest his body after suffering from back spasms last week in St. Louis.
David Booth will also enjoy Vancouver’s three days rest this week more than most players after finally firing in his first of the season against the Blackhawks.
Booth has been buzzing around the offensive zone recently and was due to bump the slump as one of the few Canucks forwards remaining without a goal this year.
As Ryan Kesler continues to get up to game speed the chances for Booth will keep coming, last year’s Selke Trophy winner has yet to hit mid-season form and can only further improve the linemates around him.
The Blackhawks looked lost without Duncan Keith Sunday and now know better than to get into a specials teams battle with their rivals.
The Canucks have the NHL’s second strongest power play, the fourth most powerful penalty kill in the league and have proven to be more than comfortable playing through a parade to the penalty box.
With so many chances to score, the Canucks and the talented twins took advantage of a sloppy team Sunday but will not find it so easy at 5-on-5 moving forward.
What impressed me most about this game on Sunday was Roberto Luongo. He made several stellar saves in the 2nd stanza when the game was still on the line.
His game is clearly rounding into form and the team would be wise to keep him in between the pipes in upcoming games against the L.A. Kings (on Thursday), (Schneider will start vs. the Ducks on Friday), the Islanders (Sunday), and again against the Blackhawks at home in Vancouver a week from this Wednesday.
If the second line can start contributing on a nightly basis we’ll see the Canucks rising in the Northwest division standings soon enough.
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Referees: Don VanMassenhoven, Dan O’Rourke
Linesmen: Andy McElman, Mike Cvik