'Hawks drop Canucks

Chicago Blackhawks' Steve Montador (R) knocks Vancouver Canucks' Manny Malhotra into the boards...

Chicago Blackhawks' Steve Montador (R) knocks Vancouver Canucks' Manny Malhotra into the boards during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia on Nov. 16, 2011. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

Hosea Cheung, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

VANCOUVER - The Chicago Blackhawks couldn't do it in dramatic overtime fashion or by unleashing a fury of power play goals.

But they got their revenge anyways.

Ten days after the Vancouver Canucks scored five times with the man advantage in a rout over the Blackhawks, the latter got their payback with a gritty 5-1 victory at Rogers Arena. And with that, the loss drops the Canucks back down to .500 on the season.

"We're aware of where our game is right now," said coach Alain Vigneault. "We're not that far away but obviously, we're not good enough right now. We're working extremely hard as a group to get to where it needs to be."

The game marked Chicago's first visit to Vancouver since getting bounced in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in April.

But this time around, there was no exorcising of the demons for the Canucks. Rather, they were again haunted by a lack of execution in front of Cory Schneider.

The goaltender started in place of Roberto Luongo, absent with an upper body injury, and made 22 saves. His last three losses now have seen his teammates produce a combined two goals offensively.

Following a goalless first period, the Canucks opened the scoring early in the middle frame as Jannik Hansen once again benefitted from playing with the Sedins. The Dane scored his third goal in three games and his fifth of the year, thanks to a perfect centring feed from captain Henrik.

The Blackhawks responded less than five minutes later on the power play. Andrew Brunette potted his 20th career goal against Vancouver, finishing off a pass by Marcus Kruger.

Soon after, again on the power play, Patrick Kane recorded his seventh goal of the season as his shot trickled past Schneider after hitting defenceman Alex Edler. The Blackhawks, with the NHL's 23rd ranked power play, were two-for-two with the man-up at that point, making the Canucks pay for their first pair of penalties after staying out of the box for five straight periods.

Vancouver couldn't recover as Chicago's Corey Crawford shut the door the rest of the way, making 28 saves for his ninth win of the season. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Steve Montador rounded out the scoring in the third period, giving the Blackhawks their league-leading 12th win of the season. Marian Hossa finished with three assists to bump his season total to 21 points.

"We didn't find a way to put away our chances and get back into the game," said Jannik Hansen. "The last couple minutes of the game, we kind of unravelled a little bit and it's unacceptable for this team."

Canucks defenceman Keith Ballard left in the first period after hitting Carcillo and did not return to the game. Vigneault said afterwards that Ballard tweaked his back.

Vancouver will close out their three-game homestand Sunday against the Ottawa Senators.


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