Blackhawks give Quenneville milestone win
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It took them five games, but the Chicago Blackhawks finally gave head coach Joel Quenneville the victory that moved him into third place for all-time regular-season NHL wins.
Chicago scored four goals in under eight minutes in the second period to overcome a 2-0 deficit, and the Blackhawks recorded a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Wednesday night.
"I've been fortunate, I'm happy with the way things have gone and the places I've been," Quenneville said after career victory No. 693. "It took a while to get this last one. It's been fun."
Quenneville, who also coached the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche, trails only Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Al Arbour (782). He passed Dick Irvin Sr. (682) on Wednesday.
"He knows how to handle the mentality of every guy in here," Chicago goalie Corey Crawford said. "Coach Q brings out the best of everyone."
Trailing 2-0 after Canucks fourth-line left winger Tom Sestito scored 2:44 into the second period, the Blackhawks staged a rapid rally.
Right winger Marian Hossa finished off a pretty back-and-forth pair of cross-ice passes by roofing the puck under the crossbar on a power play at 6:30. The goal assured Chicago would remain one of only four teams not to have been shut out this season.
Barely three minutes later, left winger Brandon Saad redirected a puck past Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo to draw Chicago even.
Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews then beat Luongo when the puck jumped over the stick of Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa right to the Chicago captain at the side of the net at 10:47.
Toews then fed left winger Patrick Sharp a drop pass at 14:11, and Sharp beat Luongo from the top of the faceoff circle.
It took Chicago five shots and 7:41 to score the four goals.
"That was a big momentum shift in the second period," said Toews, the Blackhawks' captain. "We have a quiet confidence that's always there.
"Chalk it up to a good win."
The Canucks opened the scoring 16 seconds into the game after left winger Chris Higgins bodychecked Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook off the puck then skated to the front of the net for a pass from center Ryan Kesler. Higgins tucked the puck under Crawford.
Vancouver maintained the one-goal lead despite being outshot 13-3 by Chicago over the first 18 minutes of the opening period.
"You never like to be scored against on your first shift, it's not a good feeling," Toews said. "But we decided that wasn't going to be a deciding factor."
Chicago's four quick goals in the middle period weren't indicative of the performance by the Canucks, who were aggressive in playing the body and who showed a lot of jump that created scoring chances.
They just couldn't convert, as has been the story most of the season.
"We kind of lost ourselves in the second period there, and it turned into a track meet," Canucks interim head coach Mike Sullivan said. "We had a four-on-two, a two-on-one, then the puck winds up in our net."
Sullivan fell to 2-3-0 while filling in for the suspended John Tortorella, who has one more game to serve on a six-game suspension.
Saad added an empty-net goal as the Blackhawks posted at least five goals for the 20th time this season, tops in the NHL.
Chicago was 0-2-2 heading into Wednesday's game and could have wilted after Vancouver jumped ahead in the first minute.
"I don't know if it was a wake-up call," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "It definitely got our attention.
"It was kind of a weird play, and we just kept chipping away."
The game was the third and final regular-season meeting between the teams, with the Blackhawks taking five of a possible six points.
Crawford finished with 29 saves, while Luongo stopped 35 shots.
NOTES: The Blackhawks will send 10 players, spread among five countries, to the Sochi Games. That is tied for a league high with the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues. ... Vancouver is sending seven players, representing four countries, to the Winter Olympics. ... The Blackhawks collected at least one point for the 45th time in 56 games, and they began the night ranked first in the NHL with an average of 3.44 goals a game. ... Duncan Keith, who had one assist, leads all defensemen with 45 on the season. He became the fastest Blackhawk to 40 assists (46 games) in franchise history. ... Canucks C Henrik Sedin (ribs) missed his fifth consecutive game after having played 679 straight games, the sixth-longest ironman streak in NHL history. ... The Canucks played their final home game prior to the Olympic break. ... Chicago does not play a home game until March 1. The Blackhawks' last home game was Jan. 26.