February 25th, 2024

Boeser scores 23rd goal as Canucks beat Blackhawks 4-3

By Jay Cohen, The Associated Press on December 17, 2023.

CHICAGO (AP) – It was a sleepy first period for Vancouver. The second was more like the usual Canucks.

Brock Boeser, Ilya Mikheyev and Dakota Joshua scored in the middle period, and Vancouver beat the depleted Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Sunday.

Elias Pettersson also scored as Vancouver shook off a slow start in a quick turnaround after a 2-1 shootout loss at Minnesota on Saturday. J.T. Miller and Tyler Myers each had two assists, and Thatcher Demko made 25 saves.

“Obviously we didn’t like our first (period),” coach Rick Tocchet said, “and then in the second I thought was our best period. So that was a good response.”

The Canucks improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight games. They had just one shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the opening period, but they grabbed control in the second and held on down the stretch.

“That wasn’t a good first period,” Pettersson said. “I think we came out better (in the second) and that set us up for the third period.”

Nick Foligno had two goals for Chicago, and rookie Connor Bedard had two assists against his hometown team. Cole Guttman scored in the third period, and Petr Mrazek made 22 saves.

The last-place Blackhawks lost their fourth straight game and dropped to 4-13-1 in their last 18.

“I hate moral victories. But with what we’re facing right now with the group we have with injuries, I’m proud of our guys for competing,” Foligno said. “That’s the standard – we talked about that – that’s bare minimum. And it gives yourself a chance to win every night.”

Foligno gave Chicago a 2-1 lead when he knocked home a rebound for a power-play goal 35 seconds into the second. It was Foligno’s sixth of the season.

Vancouver then went ahead to stay when Joshua and Boeser scored 41 seconds apart. Joshua redirected Conor Garland’s shot past Mrazek at 3:04, and Boeser converted a wrist shot from the left circle at 3:45.

It was Boeser’s 10th goal in his last 11 games and No. 23 on the season, moving him into a tie with Toronto star Auston Matthews for the NHL lead.

Mikheyev made it 4-2 when he got a piece of Myers’ blue line slap shot with 4:19 left in the second. It was Mikheyev’s 10th on the season.

“On a back-to-back, you try to find your legs and it’s nice to be tied after one,” Garland said, “especially when you don’t feel at your best. Then we got rolling and kind of gave ourselves a cushion.”

Chicago pulled within one on Guttman’s power-play goal 6:44 into the third period, but it couldn’t come up with the tying score.

The Blackhawks played without three of their top defencemen. Seth Jones was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a left shoulder injury, and Alex Vlasic was sidelined by an upper-body injury. Kevin Korchinski is spending time with his family following the death of his father, Larry, at age 59.

The team flew to Saskatoon, Sask., on Friday morning for the funeral. There is no timeline for the 19-year-old Korchinski to return to Chicago.

“It was a sad day for everybody involved, but I thought it was really great that the schedule permitted us to be there to support Kevin and his family,” coach Luke Richardson said. “It’s a tough time.”

Chicago lost another defenceman when Connor Murphy was shaken up after he blocked a shot in the first period, but he returned in the second. Forward Joey Anderson didn’t play in the third because of an upper-body injury.

“I don’t even know if I want to practise anymore because guys are going down,” Richardson said. “I know it happens to teams at different times of the year and right now it’s us.”

UP NEXT

Canucks: Visit the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

Blackhawks: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

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