Canucks blank Blackhawks
The Vancouver Canucks closed out a season-high five-game road trip in style on Wednesday night, cruising to an easy 5-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Henrik Sedin scored his first two goals of the season and added his 12th assist for the Canucks (6-4-1), who won three of five games on the trek.
"I've been shooting a lot, but the puck wasn't going in," Sedin said. "So it was nice to get a couple tonight."
Roberto Luongo made 32 saves to pick up his first shutout in a Vancouver uniform.
"They worked hard all night and outshot us 18-11 in the second period," he said. "Even though the score was a little lopsided, they worked for 60 minutes."
"It's nice to get the shutout. But I think the main thing for me is to get some wins under my belt."
It was the 28th career shutout for Luongo, acquired in the off-season by the Canucks in a muti-player deal that sent Todd Bertuzzi to the Florida Panthers.
"Roberto did a good job of shutting them down," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. "Once we took a four-goal lead, it's challenging for the opposition to have to score four goals off of Luongo."
Brendan Morrison, Taylor Pyatt and Matt Cooke joined Henrik Sedin in notching goals, while Daniel Sedin — Henrik's twin brother — led the Canucks with three assists.
Vancouver's power play, which had scored on just four of its last 51 opportunities entering the game, made good on one of its five chances.
"We finally found a way to score a couple of goals," Vigneault said.
Brian Boucher stopped 26 of 31 shots Wednesday for the floundering Blackhawks (4-5-0), who have dropped three straight since opening the season with four wins in six games.
"Our defence wasn't as good as it has been and our goaltending was average," Blackhawks coach Trent Yawney said. "We've got to find a away to nip this as fast as possible."
Chicago was without its No. 1 goaltender and two of its top four scorers, all of whom were hurt last weekend.
Sniper Martin Havlat (13 points) is out at least another week with a sprained ankle, while Michal Handzus (eight points) is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
A broken finger has Nikolai Khabibulin (four wins) sidelined for two weeks.
Chicago was also without centre Tuomo Ruutu, who sprained a knee in the pre-season and may return next week.
"If you miss three of your key guys, I don't think any team in this league is going to have the success they would otherwise," Sedin said. "We knew if we could match their work ethic, we'd have a good chance to win."
The Canucks opened the scoring 4:54 into the game on Cooke's first of the season. Josh Green kept the puck in the Blackhawks' zone along the right-wing boards and fed Mattias Ohlund for a shot from the high slot. Boucher kicked the puck out, but Cooke scooped it up, spun around and shovelled in a backhand.
Vancouver got a pair of partial two-man power plays later in the period as the plodding Blackhawks were forced to take penalties to slow down their hustling opponents. The Canucks failed to convert on their initial 5-on-3, but seconds after the first penalty expired on the next two-man advantage, Markus Naslund made a diagonal pass back to Ohlund at the left point and his wrist shot was tipped in by Morrison.
Vancouver struck again 3:41 into the second period with Henrik Sedin's first of the season. Henrik, who came into the game as the league co-leader with 11 assists, ricocheted a wrist shot off the leg of Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith and the puck bounced past a stunned Boucher.
The Canucks put the game out of reach later in the second. Boucher tried to shovel the rebound off Henrik's sharp-angle shot out of harm's way, but the puck went right to Pyatt, who fired a quick shot past the Chicago goalie to put Vancouver up 4-0.
Henrik tallied his second goal of the night late in the game, again with an assist from his brother.
Vancouver, which has played just two home games this season, will host the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
With files from the Canadian Press