Chicago at Vancouver

Green's first goal of season lifts Canucks over Blackhawks


VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Canucks have been in such a scoring drought that two goals seem to be a lot.

Against Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, it was.

Markus Naslund scored his 10th of the season on an early power play and Josh Green added his first in the second period as the Canucks overcame a brilliant 37-save outing by Khabibulin to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday night.

"Two was enough tonight and we re lucky we got two. Green said. "He kept them in the game and gave them a chance to win. We threw everything we had at him.

Roberto Luongo made 22 saves for the Canucks, who won consecutive games for the first time in more than three weeks, but have won just three of the last nine. They have scored two goals or less in seven of their last eight games.

The Canucks finally broke the two-goal ceiling in a 4-2 win over St. Louis Friday and sounded optimistic it was the start of more goal celebrations for the league s second-lowest scoring team. It looked that way when Naslund found the back of the net on a power play just 2:46 in, but Khabibulin had other ideas.

"Khabibulin played great, said Naslund. "We did a lot of good things, we created a lot of opportunities and one of these days, they re all going in.

Khabibulin returned after missing nine games with a broken finger to stop 42 shots in a 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim Friday and had to be just as sharp against the Canucks, especially the top line of Naslund and twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who combined for 10 shots and at least as many good scoring chances.

"I don't mind the shots, said Khabibulin. "The Sedins and Naslund, every time they stepped on the ice they created a lot of buzz around the net in our zone.

The Russian goalie caught a break on the first two chances they created as Patrick Coulombe and Henrik Sedin both hit the post on an early power play. But Naslund converted a pretty pass from Daniel Sedin before the advantage expired.

Daniel drove the net from a sharp angle and dropped a backhand pass between his legs to Naslund at the side, where he quickly lifted the puck over Khabibulin's glove for his third goal in two games.

"It was a beautiful play, said Naslund, who has combined with the Sedin twins for four goals and eight assists in the last four games.

"That line dictates the game, Chicago coach Trent Yawney said. "They were maybe the best line I've seen this year in terms of reading off each other.

Tuomo Ruutu scored the lone goal for the Blackhawks, who had recorded at least one point in the previous five games (3-0-2) following an eight-game losing streak.

"Nik was very, very good for us, Yawney added. "We just didn't support him enough with enough offense."

Ruutu tied it eight minutes later when he was left alone in the slot to the left of Luongo. It was the second straight game with a goal for the injury-prone Ruutu, who missed the first 10 games of the season with a sprained knee.

But Green restored Vancouver's lead during a delayed penalty call 6:47 into the second as the Canucks pinned the Blackhawks in their own end for more than a minute. Vancouver changed forward lines without losing possession, and Green came off the bench to convert Coulombe's rebound before Chicago could control the puck.

It was Green's first goal in 46 games, dating to Feb. 6.

"It feels nice, especially when the team wins, said Green. "We changed and we had some pressure down in their end and Patty made a nice shot on net and the rebound just sat their for me. It was a nice break and I was able to jam it in.


  • It was the eighth time in 10 games that the Canucks have failed to score more than two goals.
  • Vancouver went 3-3 on a six-game homestand.
  • The Canucks killed off all five Chicago power plays and have not allowed a goal in 31 of 35 short-handed situations and 51 of 54 on home ice this season.
  • Chicago LW Martin Havlat, who was leading the NHL in scoring when he sprained an ankle on Oct. 20, skated hard for the first time this week. His return date is uncertain.
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Vancouver's Josh Green slips the puck past goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin for his first goal in 46 games.  (AP)
Vancouver's Josh Green slips the puck past goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin for his first goal in 46 games. (AP)
Chicago (7-10-2)1001
Vancouver  (10-10-1) «1102
Three Stars
N. Khabibulin

Saves: 37
Save Pct.: .949
M. Naslund

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
S. Salo

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
02:46Power Play - Markus Naslund (10), Wrist Shot - Assists: Daniel Sedin, Sami Salo
10:41Tuomo Ruutu (3), Wrist Shot - Assist: Radim Vrbata
06:47Josh Green, Wrist Shot - Assists: Patrick Coulombe, Trevor Linden
Penalty Summary
02:07Cullimore: Hooking - 2 min.
06:42Bieksa: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
08:21Keith: Interference - 2 min.
10:34Khabibulin: Delay of Game - 2 min.
13:07Kesler: Tripping - 2 min.
16:30Bulis: Hooking - 2 min.
01:48Ohlund: Tripping - 2 min.
06:10Vandermeer: Fighting - 5 min.
06:10Pyatt: Fighting - 5 min.
06:10Vandermeer: Holding the stick - 2 min.
10:18Arkhipov: Holding the stick - 2 min.
19:00Salo: Tripping - 2 min.
Nikolai Khabibulin59:02372
Roberto Luongo58:56221
Attendance - 18630
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Marc Joannette, Bill McCreary
Line Judges - Thor Nelson, Mark Wheler
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