Reuters - Sat, 06 Mar 07:28:00 2010
The Chicago Blackhawks moved into a share of first place in the Western Conference with a 6-3 home win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Chicago cruised to a 5-1 lead by the end of the first period to chase Vancouver's starting goalie Roberto Luongo from the game. Luongo, who won an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada on Sunday, was replaced by Andrew Raycroft (pictured, left).
"It's definitely not the way we wanted to start this game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
"We wanted to play a disciplined game like we did in Detroit, and that wasn't the case tonight. Without a doubt, in the first period they were the much better team. They got Grade A chances and were able to bury those chances."
Animosity between the teams was evident early on, with 12 minutes in penalties assessed just 37 seconds into the opening period. Overall there were 50 minutes in penalties, 28 going to the Canucks.
"We play these guys a lot," Duncan Keith said.
"Every time we play these guys it's a lot of emotion and intensity. It was no different tonight."
Andrew Ladd, Keith, Troy Brouwer (pictured, right), Kris Versteeg and Jordan Hendry scored for the Hawks in the first period, with Ryan Kesler finding the net for the Canucks.
"We knew we had to have a big effort against Vancouver, one of our biggest rivals this season and last season too," Hendry said.
"It was huge for us to get a win against them. They've had our number the last few games so it was nice to get the effort."
Vancouver's Alex Burrows and Chicago's Marian Hossa traded goals in the second period before Mikael Samuelsson scored for Vancouver in the third.
It was the Canucks' 10th consecutive game on the road. The team has not played in Vancouver since Jan. 30 as their home ice was used for the Winter Olympics.
Vancouver maintains top spot in the Northwest Division despite the loss, two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.
NHL results on Friday (home team in CAPS):
BUFFALO 3 Philadelphia 2 (OT)
DETROIT 5 Nashville 2
CHICAGO 6 Vancouver 3
CALGARY 5 New Jersey 3
EDMONTON 2 Minnesota 1 (SO)