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Morrison's third-period tiebreaker leads Canucks past Blackhawks 3-2

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

CHICAGO - Brendan Morrison snapped out of a scoring slump at a good time for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

Morrison, who had just one goal in his previous 11 games, scored early in the third period to break a tie and also had an assist in the Canucks' 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Morrison scored at 3:11 of the third. His shot from the right circle deflected off Chicago defenceman Andrei Zyuzin's stick and slid past goalie Nikolai Khabibulin just inside right goal post.

"I just let 'er go," Morrison said. "I was just trying to shoot through a screen. It bounced off his shaft and changed direction."

Mattias Ohlund and Byron Ritchie also scored for the Canucks in their fourth victory in five games. Taylor Pyatt had two assists for Vancouver, which is 10-2-2 in its last 14 and hasn't dropped two straight since losing consecutive contests on Oct. 28 and Nov. 1.

Morrison seemed to benefit from being switched to a line with Pyatt and Ritchie, Canucks coach Alain Vigenault said.

"We need to find a way for Brendan to give us more offence,' Vigneault said. "He seemed excited about playing with Pyatt and Ritchie and it worked out well for us tonight."

Morrison has eight goals and nine assists in 27 games this year.

Martin Lapointe and Martin Havlat scored for the Blackhawks, whose five-game home winning streak ended.

"I didn't like our start," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "We should have played better in the second and third, but if the start was as good as we've had at home the last couple of weeks, we'd have been OK."

With an assist on Ohlund's goal, Markus Naslund recorded his 725th point with Vancouver and passed Trevor Linden as the Canucks' career scoring leader.

Naslund has 332 goals and 393 assists in 829 games with the Canucks. Linden, in his second tour with Vancouver, has 312 goals and 412 assists in 1,020 games with the team.

"I guess it's something to reflect on when you're done," Naslund said. "It wasn't a pretty game at all, but we found a way to win."

Ohlund's goal was his 83rd with Vancouver, tying him with Jyrki Lumme for the most goals by a Canucks defenceman.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo made 25 saves in his sixth straight start. During the span, he has allowed seven goals and posted three consecutive shutouts from Nov. 25 to Nov 29.

Khabibulin made 18 saves.

"We played like half a game," Lapointe said. "Luongo is a world-class goaltender, but he's not unbeatable. We've got to get traffic in front of the net."

Ohlund opened the scoring 7:24 into the first. After taking a drop pass from Naslund, he lofted a backhander over Khabibulin's left shoulder from the slot.

Lapointe tied with 5:17 left in the first. His shot from the slot rolled over Luongo's left pad and into the net before the goalie could control the puck with his glove.

Ritchie put Vancouver ahead 2-1 with 38 seconds left in the period. His centring attempt from behind the net hit Khabibulin's right skate, deflected and trickled over the goal-line.

Havlat tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal at 9:01 of the second. His shot from a sharp angle struck Luongo, then bounded off Vancouver defenceman Sami Salo's skate and into the net.

Luongo made a point-blank save on Chicago's Patrick Kane with 33 seconds left to preserve the win.

Notes: Chicago D James Wisniewski returned after missing three games because of a facial injury. ... Blackhawks C Jason Williams missed his third straight game and seventh in the last eight with a groin injury. RW Rene Bourque missed his seventh game with a broken thumb. Rookie C Jacob Dowell missed his third game with a broken right foot. ... Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa sat out his 14th game with a leg injury. ... White Sox slugger Jim Thome dropped the ceremonial first puck.



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