The Vancouver Canucks rolled into The Windy City on Thursday night, squaring off against the Chicago Blackhawks for the first of three matchups this season.
Having dropped their previous two road games to Buffalo and Detroit, Vancouver was looking to bounce back and return to the winner’s circle.
Head Coach Travis Green elected to shake things up heading into Thursday night’s contest, scratching rookie forward Vasily Podkolzin in favour of veteran net-front presence Alex Chiasson. Green also made adjustments to the blueline, replacing defencemen Brad Hunt and Luke Schenn for Kyle Burroughs and Quinn Hughes, who missed Tuesday’s contest with a lower-body injury.
Here’s what the line combinations looked like in Chicago:
Prior to the game, the Blackhawks held a ceremony for forward Patrick Kane in honour of his 1000th NHL game. Kane hit the milestone during the 2020-21 season, but the Blackhawks wanted to honour the nine-time All Star in front of a full crowd at the United Center.
Kane received a silver stick for the accomplishment, adding it to his collection that already includes three Stanley Cups, an Art Ross Award and a Calder Trophy. It was definitely fitting for the ceremony to take place with the Canucks in town, but Vancouver still knew that they would need to do whatever they could to spoil the celebrations.
Let’s see what happened!
It took a few minutes for the Canucks to get going, but they were eventually able to open the scoring for the second consecutive game, thanks to a tally from Jason Dickinson. This was his first goal as a Vancouver Canuck, and it came after an excellent tic-tac-toe style play was executed by linemates Matthew Highmore and Nils Höglander.
Just under two minutes later, Blackhawks’ forward Alex DeBrincat found a way to tie the game on the man-advantage, and it came with a splash of revenge. After drawing the tripping penalty on Burroughs, Debrincat was able to find some open space on the powerplay, firing the puck past Thatcher Demko to knot things up at 1-1.
The game went on with both teams trading blows back and forth, including a scary moment where Tyler Myers took a flying puck directly to the knee. He was slow to get to the bench and appeared to be in serious discomfort. Myers did not take another shift that period, but fortunately did not leave the contest.
The action continued to heat up as the first period was coming to a close.
Höglander took a big hit from Riley Stillman along the boards, sparking a response from Burroughs to retaliate and convince Stillman to drop the gloves. The two blueliners traded punches in what many would consider a good, evenly-matched hockey scrum.
The scored remained deadlocked heading into the first intermission, with Chicago outshooting Vancouver by a margin of 12-9. Both teams were clearly playing hard in order to earn two points, and desperately wanted to gain some ground in their respective standings.