When the two teams met just over a week ago, many expected a thriller as the Blackhawks and Canucks met for the first time since their epic first round playoff series last season.
That wasn’t the case. The Blackhawks turned in what was, arguably, their worst performance of the season and were trounced 6-2 at the United Center.
On Wednesday, the Blackhawks turned the tables on the Canucks, overcoming a slow start on their way to dominating their rivals from the Northwest Division by a 5-1 count.
It wasn’t the most impressive of starts, as sloppy play went both ways in a scoreless first period, before a strong start in the second period for the Canucks led to a 1-0 deficit for the Hawks. Jannik Hansen scored on a poor play by the Hawks defense that left Corey Crawford out to dry, allowing Hansen to break the 0-0 tie.
From that point on, it was all Hawks. The power play showed up again, scoring on two of their opportunities. The first came off of that unit that continues to impress, despite the little sense Steve Montador at forward makes. Montador slid a great pass to Marcus Kruger, who flipped it to Andrew Brunette, who was able to fire one past Cory Schneider from an awkward angle.
Six minutes later, the Hawks were able to convert again, this one courtesy of Sami Salo. Patrick Kane got credit for the goal, but it was Salo that pushed it in, with Jonathan Toews also creating traffic in front.
After a bit of a sluggish start to the third period, the Hawks took control midway through the final frame.
Off of a brilliant hustle play by Marian Hossa, Viktor Stalberg was able to find Jonathan Toews in front of a Schneider-less Vancouver net, and Toews knocked it home for the 3-1 lead.
In the next four minutes, the Hawks would tack on two more, courtesy of Patrick Sharp, which appeared to have been knocked in by Dan Carcillo in front of the net, and Steve Montador, who has four goals in his last four games. All three came an equal two minutes apart.
As he has been against the Canucks, Corey Crawford was fantastic on Wednesday. He made the big stops when the Hawks were struggling early, and when they had the lead, including a stoning of Hansen on a shorthanded breakaway in the third period. He had 28 saves on the night.
Duncan Keith also had a very solid night. Without Brent Seabrook in the lineup due to his lower body injury, Keith logged heavy minutes, adding an assist and a plus-1 to his 29:54 of ice time. The only negative of his play on Wednesday was the poor pass that resulted in Hansen’s breakaway.
With the win, the Hawks exact their revenge on Vancouver for last week’s disaster at the United Center and continue to rack up points. As of Wednesday, they are at the top of the league, with 27, as far as points go. They’ll look to continue their run, having won four in a row, as they visit the Calgary Flames on Friday night in Game 2 of the six-game Circus Trip.