What happened during the second intermission?
It was a tale of two periods for the Canucks on Sunday night.
At first, it seemed like the team was destined for a victory, with Garland able to easily breeze past a tired Chicago defence en route to the first penalty of the contest just 45 seconds in.
Both powerplay units came out blazing, peppering Fleury with a total of six shots that forced the soon-to-be-37-year-old to be on his toes early on, including a 99mph slapshot from Miller.
Vancouver continued to put the foot on the gas after the man advantage expired, maintaining strong puck control in the offensive end, while also continuing to apply strong pressure against their opponents.
The Canucks were also able to kill off a penalty of their own, limiting Chicago to just one shot on the powerplay, even with Tyler Motte serving the infraction.
After the first 20 minutes, Vancouver was able to register 15 shots on goal, compared to just six from the Blackhawks.
The strong effort carried over into the second period, with the Canucks continuing to generate low-danger scoring chances against Fleury. It appeared that the tide was about to turn against them at the halfway mark after Garland was dinged for a “hooking” minor, but Chicago would end up taking a penalty of their own just 42 seconds later.
The powerplay was able to pick up right where they left off after Garland served his sentence, once again able to effectively enter the offensive zone to set up. Head coach Travis Green stuck with the same unit formations as last week, and it seems that these players are finally starting to click.
By the end of the middle frame, the Canucks had doubled up on their previous shot total with 30, while also doubling up on the Blackhawks in that same department as well.
And then the third period happened.
Chicago came out flying in the final frame, selflessly blocking shots and suffocating Vancouver every time they had the puck, which ultimately led to the game’s double-deflection opening goal from Brandon Hagel who, quite frankly, should probably have been in the penalty box instead of on the scoresheet.
Simply put, the Canucks fell asleep for the first half of the third period, and Chicago took full advantage of their opponent’s disappearing act. Despite notching 30 shots on goal in the first two frames, Vancouver was only able to add 10 more in the final 20 minutes, including just two over a span of 11:32.
All of those 10 shots also came outside of high-danger areas.
The Canucks were awarded one more opportunity late in the game after Tanner Pearson drew an interference penalty but, like we saw in the previous handful of outings, the powerplay was unable to deliver when needed most.
With the shutout win, Fleury now holds a record of 13-2-2 against the Canucks, and has been able to collect at least a point in his past 15 outings against Vancouver.
In other words, let’s hope Flower isn’t between the pipes when these two teams meet again in January.