After struggling to score goals for most of the month, the Blackhawks exploded for four quick goals in the second period and ran away from the Canucks in Vancouver.
The were fast asleep when the puck dropped, and Chris Higgins put the Canucks up 1-0 only 16 seconds into the game. But from there, Corey Crawford played a very strong game. He made 28 saves against 30 shots after being asked to play in relief of Antti Raanta on Tuesday night and earned a good road victory.
After Tom Sestito gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead early in the second, a David Booth interference penalty opened the flood gates for the Hawks.
Marian Hossa scored his 24th goal of the season off a pretty feed from Kris Versteeg to bring the Hawks within one. Less than three minutes later, Brandon Saad re-directed a Sheldon Brookbank shot past Roberto Luongo to tie the game.
Jonathan Toews gave the Hawks the lead 68 seconds later, and his 18th goal of the season held up as the game-winner. Brent Seabrook pinched and threw the puck at the net, and Toews was in position to flip the puck past Luongo.
Patrick Sharp scored his 27th of the season less than four minutes after Toews’ goal and the game was effectively over.
Saad added his second goal of the night on a late power play, giving him a three-point night; he was credited with an assist on Hossa’s goal. Sharp, Toews and Hossa were credited with one goal and one assist each to lead the victorious effort.
In his second game since returning to the NHL, Brandon Pirri won only one of eight faceoffs and skated a team-low 14 shifts in the game. He was credited with two blocked shots, though.
Versteeg has now made highlight-reel passes that led to goals on back-to-back nights, but he has also given the puck away in bad positions far too many times.
In only 12:07, Brandon Bollig led the Blackhawks with six shots on net and finished tied with Brent Seabrook for the team lead with three hits in the game. After Kevin Bieksa trucked Niklas Hjalmarsson early in the game, Bollig challenged the Vancouver defenseman… but, of course, Bieksa turtled. To Bollig’s credit, he stayed out of the box in a game that became increasingly physical later in the contest.
Hjalmarsson led the way with six blocked shots, and Michal Handzus added four blocks in only 10:13 in the game. Handzus was also credited with an assist on Saad’s first goal, and skated over two minutes on penalty kill duty.
Chicago successfully continued their hot streak while short-handed, killing all three Canucks power play opportunities. The Hawks power play converted both of their chances with the advantage in the game.
Bryan Bickell was a “healthy” scratch again.
Wednesday night’s victory was the 693rd of Joel Quenneville’s coaching career, putting him alone in third place all-time.
The Blackhawks are back in action on Saturday night in San Jose.