CHICAGO – Vancouver goaltender Eddie Lack called this his biggest start of his career as he was called upon to start against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. He came up big in a battle with Antti Raanta in an eight-round shootout 3-2 victory. Lack came back to familiar surroundings in Chicago as he played here the last two years with the then Canuck AHL affiliate Wolves.
The game started out as the Patrick Kane show as he assisted in the first goal of the game. He took the puck to center and fired it in only to be slightly defected between Lack’s pads by right wing Kris Versteeg at 7:49 into the first period. The assist kept alive Kane’s consecutive point streak at 11 games.
The first period saw Vancouver struggle as they were outshot by a 10-3 margin.
In the middle frame, Kane decided to make sure he had a definitive goal in the game. He took the put to center yet again but with his amazing stick handling held on to the puck till he found the right moment to dish it out to Michal Rozsival who took a shot only to rebound back to the opposite wing where Kane was waiting to take the wrist shot the bounced around a few Canuck defenders and in just under five minutes into the period. This was Kane’s team leading 21st game of the season.
Vancouver then started to settle down as right wing Zack Kassian, who also played with the Wolves, took control of the puck in the neutral zone and charged in taking a shot that needled between the legs of defenseman Brent Seabrook and in past a screened Raanta to halve the score at the 8:19 mark.
The Canucks charged back right off the puck drop in the second plastering the Hawks with 14 shots.
The visitors tied up the game half-way through the third as left wing Daniel Sedin contained a deflected shot from Kevin Bieksa over to Raanta’s left with his skate, got it to his stick and got the puck in as he was falling to the ice.
Into overtime the teams went without a result as both teams could only muster up one shot a piece to send it into the shootout. In eight rounds and only three scores, center Ryan Kelser got the decisive goal and gave his team the extra point.
Both goaltenders played extremely well in the game. Eddie Lack got the start tonight over Roberto Luongo as the Canucks played its third game in four nights. He saved 24 of 26 shots for the win to extend his record to 5-2. Antti Paanta started the team’s seventh straight game earning his team a hard deserved point saving 22 of the 24 shots he faced sending his record to 7-1-2.
Coming into tonight’s game the Hawks had a seven game streak where they scored on the power-play but tonight they were shut out going 0-4 on the man-advantage. That might have been expected since it was going to be a tough task facing the best penalty killing team this season.
Everyone is impressed with Kane’s play this season and people are always guessing how he is going to score on you. He has keep all his news with the play on the ice and is showing a sense of maturity for his young 25 years and turning himself into one of the elite players in the league. At this moment he is second in points behind Sidney Crosby and in the top five in goals.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star Defenseman Dan Hamuis (Vancouver) with 29:15 TOI
Second Star Left Wing Daniel Sedin (Vancouver) with the game tying goal
First Star Right Wing Patrick Kane (Chicago) with a goal and an assist.