It’s been awhile since the Blackhawks and Canucks engaged in a goalie duel but that’s where they found themselves on Wednesday night. Marty Turco and Roberto Luongo traded big saves all game. Both probably suffered an unfair fate by giving up a goal at all as both deserved the shutout.
The Hawks struck first in the final minute of the first period when Quenneville’s two favorite whipping boys put together another dynamic shift. Jack Skille and Viktor Stalberg were in the midst of a strong cycle in the Canucks zone when Jake Dowell fed Stalberg in front. Stalberg collected the bouncing puck and potted it past Luongo.
There were plenty of chances for the Hawks to extend their lead but Luongo was there every time and the Hawks weren’t exactly getting a ton of second chances.
The Canucks finally bested Turco in the first minute of the third period on the power play. Christian Ehrhoff had about half a dozen whacks at a loose puck lying to the side of Turco. With Jassen Cullimore refusing to move Ehrhoff off the post, his ninth whack pushed Turco’s leg off the post and the puck slid across the crease to a wide-open Daniel Sedin who didn’t miss a wide open net.
The goalies saved their best performances for the overtime. Luongo stopped Marian Hossa on a clear breakaway and Turco stopped 8 shots to be exact. A few of them were of the high-quality variety.
The shootout was even more fun as Turco didn’t make one save and Luongo made two. Yet somehow, the Hawks were the team walking away with two points. Oh well, no need to complain about that.
–At this point, I feel like Viktor Stalberg and Jack Skille are my adopted sons and I’m their overzealous father with a stop-watch in the stands. Seriously though, Skille didn’t crack 10 minutes yet had another 3 shots on net. He also had more than a couple rushes up the ice where he completely undressed a Canucks defenseman.
Stalberg saw just over 10 and scored the lone goal along with 4 shots on goal. That’s 7 shots on goal and one goal from two guys who didn’t see over 20 minutes combined. What will it take to get these two a regular shift? There’s no reason for Bryan Bickell and Fernando Pisani to be taking shifts away from these two. Not one.
–Speaking of ice times, it’s quite disconcerting to see Nick Boynton getting 28 minutes of ice while Niklas Hjalmarsson barely cracked 20. That is not a good sign for someone who was expected to be a 1B type defenseman this year. A big reason for the Hawks getting worked over in the last two overtime frames has to be because of three guys nearly racking up 90 minutes of ice. At the end of the overtime, Seabrook looked like he needed an IV drip just to stay conscious.
–It’s hard to take anything away from this game other than it was kind of fun to watch. The Canucks came in pretty banged up. Luongo is a different player in October than April. The Hawks are still very much a work in progress.
–Here was another reason why the shootout is such a crapshoot. You could argue Kane’s shootout goal was legit as it slipped through Luongo’s legs but Sharp’s was pure luck. Then Mikael Samuelsson completely faked Turco out only to have the puck roll off his blade as a wide-open net stared back at him. For what it’s worth, I fully approve of Ken Holland’s new overtime format of five minutes of 4-on-4 and then three minutes of 3-on-3.
–A pretty entertaining part of the broadcast came at the end of the second period when Dave Bolland had a clear breakaway from his own blue line. Unfortunately, there was also only two seconds left when he gathered the puck. Just don’t tell Pat Foley that. Foley was completely befuddled as to why the refs blew the whistle only to soon realize the period was, in fact, over. Apparently, this also confused about 10,000 in attendance at the United Center.