Daniel Sedin scores twice, Canucks beat Blackhawks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)
Chicago backed into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season when Minnesota beat Dallas. To get to the second round, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks will have to fend for themselves against the front-running Vancouver Canucks.
The regular-season champion Canucks, eliminated by Chicago in the first round the past two seasons, held off the Blackhawks 4-3 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference series.
Game 3 is Sunday night in Chicago.
''The biggest thing right now is to reflect on tonight and try to get better from this,'' Chicago right winger Patrick Kane said. ''We know we have better. We know we have more in the tank here for sure. The good thing is we are going home. We're going to our building, a place that is fun to play and a place that is going to be on fire for us. They got the momentum here in their building. Hopefully, we can do the same.''
''We need more from our top guys,'' coach Joel Quenneville said.
Daniel Sedin scored his second goal midway through the third period and the Canucks survived three near comebacks and a frantic final few minutes.
Chicago had won five straight playoff games in Vancouver the past two seasons. The Blackhawks also lost Game 1 both times before bouncing back to win Game 2 and the series.
A couple of times it looked as if the Canucks might let this Game 2 slip away, too.
''Yeah, but it's a different team,'' Sedin said. ''Nobody said anything. It was pretty quiet and we were focusing on the next shift and that's what needs to happen.''
Jannik Hansen opened the scoring, and Alexander Edler made it 3-1 with 13.1 seconds left in the second period. But Roberto Luongo, who made 23 saves, was beaten by a shot off the boards early in the third, and with 7:10 left after putting a rebound into the slot to set up a tense finish.
''There was no panic, we were calm the whole way,'' Vancouver's Ryan Kesler said. ''I'm confident in this group. We don't panic, just stick to our system and stay solid. It's a different team this year. We're growing together and we've been through this before.''
''They are not the Stanley Cup champions for nothing,'' Luongo said. ''We didn't expect them to keel over or roll over. They were coming strong.''
Smith scored the Blackhawks' first goal of the series with 5:10 left in the second period to make it 2-1, and added his second with 7:10 remaining in the third to cut it to 4-3. But he also accidentally tipped Edler's point shot past his own goalie as the second period was winding down.
''It was my fault. The stick shouldn't be in the lane, the body should,'' Smith said. ''That was a tough one, especially with 13 seconds left. Playoff time you got to sacrifice the body and just didn't get in front.''
Stalberg pulled Chicago within a goal 1:56 into the third, and Crawford kept it close with two big saves on Kesler. But Sedin, the NHL leader with 104 regular-season points, scored on a 3-on-2 rush, cutting into the middle and snapping a low shot past Crawford's glove.
Smith made it tight again off a rebound in the slot, but the Canucks survived a frantic last couple minutes with Crawford out for an extra attacker.
''We just kept getting within one all night and it just wasn't enough,'' Kane said. ''The second half of the game to get three goals gives you some momentum.''
NOTES: After losing RW Tomas Kopecky to a hit in Game 1, Chicago LW Bryan Bickell left holding his right wrist after a hit 5 minutes into the third period. He didn't return and will be evaluated Saturday, Quenneville said. Vancouver second-line LW Mikael Samuelsson was a late scratch because of illness. D Aaron Rome dressed as the 12th forward. ... Kopecky was replaced by Fernando Pisani. The Blackhawks also subbed C Marcus Kruger for Jake Dowell. ... Vancouver LW Raffi Torres can return from a four-game suspension in Game 3, but wasn't able to practice Friday because of food poisoning.