One of the biggest contemporary rivalries in hockey is the one between the Vancovuer Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks. It goes back a while but has heated up a lot in the last 3 or 4 years. Both teams are constantly strong in the regular season and make it into playoffs. The 2 teams have actually met for the last 3 years in the playoffs. The 1st time Chicago eliminated Vancouver in 6 games in round 2 but Chicago was eliminated in the 3rd round. The 2nd time Chicago again eliminated Vancouver in the 2nd round in 6 games. This time Chicago advanced to the finals and won the Stanley Cup with a goal by Patrick Kane in game 6. The 3rd time was the charm for Vancouver. Last year Vancouver finished top in the league overall and Chicago only made it into the playoffs because Minnesota beat Dallas. It was a 1st round meeting. And for hockey history. Vancouver won the 1st 3 games and then Chicago won the next 3 and onto game 7 it was at Rogers Arena. Vancouver scored 1st with a beauty by Alex Burrows and that was that. Then in the dying minutes of the 3rd period with fans on their feet Blackhawk Captain Jonathan Toews scores to tie it up. The crowd fell silent and you could hear a pin drop. After a moment of silence and realization of what just happened the crowd rose to their feet, started waving their towels and cheering for their Vancouver Canucks like I had never scene before. Into overtime the game went and after an emotional game for Burrows with the lone Vancouver goal, a penalty shot, and a penalty taken at a bad time Burrows grabbed the puck took the shot and won the game for Vancouver! It was over and Vancouver had finally beat Chicago in the playoffs. Vancouver did end up advancing to the Finals that year but lost to the Boston Bruins in game 7. Needless to say you can see why regular season games between the Canucks and Blackhawks are so entertaining.
Last night's game was was the 3rd meeting out of 4 for these 2 teams. The 1st meeting was in Chicago with a 6-2 win for Vancouver and the 2nd was 10 days later in Vancouver and Chicago won 5-1. This meeting was going to be good. One fun twist was former Canuck Brendan Morrison (who hasn't played for the Canucks in years) was playing for the rival team Chicago. Morrison was traded Friday night from Calgary to Chicago and got the news while he was fishing on Vancouver Island.
The game started with the 14th goal by Ryan Kesler assisted by All Star Alex Edler. With Elder tallying his 28th assist! Then Chicago does what Chicago does best and tied up the game with a goal by Jamal Mayers. No scoring in the 2nd period. The 2nd did see a save by Cory Schneider that might go down as this season's best save! Ironically by Brendan Morrison. Start of the 3rd saw Chicago take the lead with a goal by Viktor Stalberg assisted by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. But leave it to All Star Rookie Cody Hodgson to tie it up with an absolute beauty! Hodgson tallied his 14th goal of the season. Into overtime and this OT looked like the playoffs. It was gritty, fast, and dirty. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. With 3:37 gone in OT Daniel Sedin scored the game winner and now leads the Canucks for all time OT winners with 10 goals. Ironically beating Brendan Morrison who held the record at 9 games. Cory Schneider has now won his last 4 starts between the pipes. Up next, Vancouver and Detroit. Wait for the fireworks again. Check out Schneider's save in "If You Need a Visual."
This is how the other 12 games ended:
Boston beat Ottawa. This game had Ottawa Captain Alfredsson and Boston Captain Chara going up against each other after also being the Captains at the All Stars. Boston scored first but Ottawa ended the 2nd period with a one goal lead which Boston ended with 2 goals in the 3rd for a 4-3 win. Boston sits in 3rd place with 66 points in 48 games while Ottawa is 11th with 60 points in 53 games.
Another game ended in a 4-3 finish. This time New Jersey beat the New York Rangers in a shootout. The scoring went back and forth with New York scoring 1st and no scoring in OT. The only shootout goal scored was the 1st one by New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk and the next 5 shooters were denied. Rangers still sit 2nd in standings with 67 points, while New Jersey is 13th with 57 points.
Winnipeg beat Philadelphia in a 2-1 shootout victory. Philly scored in the 1st, Winnipeg in the 2nd, and the 3rd period and OT proved scoreless. This time is was the 6th and last shooter who scored. Bryan Little scored after the first 5 failed. Winnipeg takes the win for 20th overall and Philly is 8th.
To keep the theme going with shootouts last night Toronto lost to Pittsburgh in a shootout. This game ended strangely thought because Toronto gave up a 3 goal lead they acquired with 2 goals 19 seconds apart early in the 3rd period. Pittsburgh came back to score 3 goals with the man of the minute Evgeni Malkin scoring with 7 seconds left in the game to tie it up. OT did nothing and again it was Evgeni Malkin scoring the only shootout goal that won the game for the PENS. Pittsburgh is 10th in league standings with 62 points and Toronto is 15th with 56 points, while Malkin leads the scoring race with 59 points in 43 games played. That is the most points and least amount of games played by the top 10 leaders.
The New York Islanders crushed the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. NYIs took an early lead in the 1st and then potted another in the 2nd to end the 2nd period with a 2 goal lead. Carolina answered back with 2 goals in the 3rd to tie the game. But NYIs All Star John Tavares scored twice with teammate Kyle Okposo also scoring to end it 5-2. Carolina is currently 28th in league standings with the Islanders sitting at 24th.
Both Buffalo and Montreal have been struggling this year with trades and injuries. Both teams were expected to do well this year but it hasn't panned out that way with both teams picking up about as many wins as loses. But Buffalo did pick up another win last night while Montreal took home another loss. Montreal's Max Pacioretty scored 1st but then it was Buffalo, Buffalo, Buffalo for a 3-1 final, with Ville Leino, Paul Gaustad, and Patrick Kaleta scoring for the Sabers. Both teams now have 47 points and Montreal is 25th and Buffalo is 26th in standings.
Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals. This was the 2nd game Ovechkin sat out with his 3 game suspension. It was Steven Stamkos that scored the winner half way through overtime. Stamkos is 3rd in the scoring race with 54 points in 49 games. Tampa is 23rd in the standings with 48 points in 29 games, and Washignton minus Ovechkin is still 14th with 56 points in 49 games.
Nashville and Minnesota battled it out last night. It ended up with Nashville winning 5-4. By the start of the 2nd period Minnesota had a 3 goal lead and Nashville managed to make it 3-1 by the end. Come the 3rd period different story, Minnesota scored 1 goal 16 seconds in to regain their 3 goal lead but Nashville came at them guns blazing to score 4 goals in 10 minutes to break a 4-4 tie with only 21 seconds left in the 3rd period! Nashville can thank handsome Mike Fisher for that game winner. Nashville is 5th overall in standings with 66 points while Minnesota is 17th with 55 points in 50 games.
Detroit beat Calgary 3-1. After Detroit's loss to Montreal before the break this is a nice way for them to get back into the game. The only Flame to score was newly traded for Mike Cammalleri. After that win Detroit is 1st in league standings with 69 points in 51 games played while Calgary is 21st with 52 points in 51 games.
Anaheim had a hay day with Phoenix last night winning 4-1. Ray Whitney scored the 1st and only goal for Phoenix, while Andrew Cogliano scored 3 goals in the 2nd period for a Natural Hat Trick and Finnish Flash Teemu Selanne scored the 4th goal for the Ducks. After that win though Anaheim is only 27th in standings and Phoenix is 22nd.
Edmonton beat Colorado 3-2. Two of Edmonton's goals were scored by the kids Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall while Eric Belanger potted the 3rd. After this win Edmonton still sits 29th with 43 points in 50 games. Edmonton isn't go good on the road with a 6-18-2 record this year while Colorado is 18th with 54 points in 52 games.
And finally, the last game of the night was a little surprising but not really. 30th and last place in the league Columbus Blue Jackets lost 6-0 to the San Jose Sharks who are 9th place over all but 1st in their Pacific Division. Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Jamie McGinn and Michal Handzus scored for San Jose with Thornton scoring twice. Columbus has 32 points in 50 games played while San Jose has 62 points in 48 games.
There are 5 games tonight and I will post those results tomorrow.
Episode 7 of Hockey Talk with Courtney is up! Check it out under "The Show"