NHL Game Summary - Chicago at Vancouver
(Wednesday, February 7th)
Final Score: Chicago 3, Vancouver 0
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Patrick Lalime picked up his first win in more than a year, turning aside all 34 shots faced en route to posting his 34th career shutout, as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks by a 3-0 margin at General Motors Place.
Lalime, who was signed by Chicago last summer to back up Nikolai Khabibulin, made his first NHL appearance since April 1, 2006, ending his long road back to the NHL.
The veteran netminder underwent an operation on his knee last summer and was working out on a bicycle when he sustained an injury to his back that also required surgery, which took place right before the start of Hawks' training camp. The team was forced to sign another netminder, and Lalime was sent to Norfolk of the American Hockey League once he got healthy this season. He played four games with the Admirals, posting a 3-1 record, 2.49 goals-against average and .930 save percentage before returning to the NHL.
Adrian Aucoin tallied, and Radim Vrbata and Martin Havlat each had a goal and an assist for Chicago, which snapped an eight-game skid against the Canucks. The Blackhawks have also won four of five overall following a 10-game skid and improved to 3-1 on their current seven-game road trip.
Roberto Luongo stopped 22-of-23 shots faced for Vancouver, which has dropped two of its last three games.
The opening 20 minutes were fast and loose, but neither team managed to light the lamp. Lalime was tested 12 times, while Luongo faced nine shots. Vancouver also squandered one power play opportunity.
Tuomo Ruutu had the best chance for the Blackhawks nearly five minutes into the contest, as he found open room in the slot and snapped a wrist shot on goal. Luongo, however, managed to calmly snag the disc with his glove.
Chicago finally opened a 1-0 lead in the second period, as Luongo played the puck behind his own net, sending it along the left boards before the disc got sent back in, resulting in a big scramble in front of the goal. Havlat and Brian Smolinski both took shots at Luongo, and the netminder went sprawling onto his back before Aucoin tipped it into the wide open net at 16:14.
Despite holding a 27-18 margin in shots on goal, Vancouver trailed heading into the final stanza.
The Canucks had their best chance to tie things up early in the third, as Brendan Morrison and Matt Cooke had an odd-man rush while Vancouver was short- handed. Cooke fed the puck cross-ice to Morrison, who fell behind the play and tipped it just wide of the net.
Vrbata and Havlat added empty-net goals inside of a minute to play, icing the game for Chicago. Vrbata's marker came with 56 seconds left in regulation, while Havlat lit the lamp with four ticks remaining.
The Blackhawks placed forwards Michael Holmqvist (stiff back) and Jeff Hamilton (sore shoulder) on injured reserve earlier in the day...The Blackhawks also snapped an eight-game skid at home against the Canucks...Vancouver's Daniel Sedin had a season-high five-game point streak halted...Havlat has scored 14 of his 20 goals and 25 of his 40 points on the road this season...Vancouver is 4-13-1 when trailing after two periods.
02/08 00:50:35 ET