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Shannon's nifty shootout goal leads Canucks to 3-2 win over Blackhawks

VANCOUVER - Ryan Shannon's first NHL goal since October won't show up in his official scoring stats, but he's not complaining.

However, both Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and coach Denis Savard were upset after Shannon's controversial shootout goal gave the Canucks a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks before a sellout crowd of 18,630 at General Motors Place.

Shannon, who was recently recalled from the minors Saturday after missing more than three months because of a knee injury, scored the only goal of the shootout on a spinaround backhand as he fell into Khabibulin. The goal gave the struggling Canucks only their third win the past 12 games.

"I haven't been able to put any goals or assists in yet since being called up," said Shannon. "This is kind of the first way I could contribute to the team and it just feels really good."

Khabibulin gave Shannon a shove in the back and complained to the officials but, after a brief consultation, referees Paul Devorski and Wes McAuley allowed the goal to stand.

"I got my number called and I was really nervous, took a couple of deep breaths, and I knew that (spinaround) was probably my most consistent move," said Shannon. "So you kind of have to prepare for it. I went out wide, saw that he was coming out with a pokecheck, so I just put on the brakes and put it into the net."

Shannon's goal capped a late comeback for the Canucks (28-22-7), who atoned for an embarrassing 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche a night earlier in a game that was decided in the first period.

"It was pretty emotional," said Shannon of the finish. "(Saturday) night was kind of a downer. There's some urgency here heading into the playoffs and we need points. With that being said, (Saturday) night wasn't a high point. But it was a better team game tonight."

Given how deflated the team was after Saturday's debacle, the Canucks could have folded after Cam Barker's strange goal gave the Blackhakws a 2-1 lead with only 4:05 left to play. Barker's shot deflected off Canuck winger Taylor Pyatt's stick and high into the air. Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo lost sight of the disc as it went over him and into the net.

But Canuck captain Markus Naslund scored with only 1:18 left in the third period, with Luongo pulled for a sixth attacker, forced overtime and the shootout.

"We stuck to the course, and even after that fluky goal we bounced back," said Shannon.

Shannon's goal made up for a miscue by Daniel Sedin, who lost control on a penalty shot in overtime. the referees ruled Chicago defenceman Brent Sopel, a former Canuck, deliberately knocked the net off its moorings as he fell and crashed into it. But Sedin never got a shot away as he went one-on-one against Khabibulin.

Alex Burrows also scored for Vancouver, giving the Canucks a 1-0 lead in the second period, after a scoreless first. The penalty-killing specialist tied his career high of seven goals while scoring for the second time in three games.

Patrick Sharp scored Chicago's other goal. He created a 1-1 tie at 5:44 of the third period as he fired in a pass from rookie centre Jonathan Toews, who returned to Chicago's lineup after missing 16 games with a sprained knee.

The Blackhawks have only one win in their last six games and fell to 24-25-6.

Shannon, a 24-year-old Darien, Conn., native said he wasn't sure how much contact he actually made with Khabibulin on his goal.

"It's such an emotional adrenaline rush," said Shannon. "I think I may have tripped on his stick and lost my footing there. It wasn't intentional contact by any means".

But Khabibulin still felt the goal should have been disallowed and didn't apologize for hitting Shannon in the back.

"Show me one goaltender that is going to be happy if he stays in the blue and somebody bumps him," said Khabibulin. "I don't care if it's a penalty shot or whatever. He's going to get in the blue, then I felt that I had to do something."

Savard said he's worried that Shannon's marker will set a precedent for illegal goals.

"To me that's interference," said Savard. "The goalie shouldn't be able to get bumped. I mean what's the difference if the guy goes right at the goalie and runs him right out? I think that's something the league should look at and try to fix that. They need to fix it.

"It's a tough call, I understand that. But we've got to figure this out. Because what you're going to see is a forward's going to go 100 miles an hour into the goalie, and that's not acceptable."

NOTES-Chicago has made an offer to free agent centre Peter Forsberg. Although Philadelphia, Colorado and Vancouver are considered the frontrunners in the Foppa sweepstakes, Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon told the Chicago Tribune his club is a "darkhorse contender" . . . Tallon was Vancouver's first-ever draft choice. He went second overall in 1970 behind Buffalo's Gilbert Perreault . . . Canuck centre Jason Jaffray was a healthy scratch as winger Brad Isbister drew into the lineup for the first time in six games . . . Only the Blackhawks (13) and Los Angeles (10) have dressed more rookies than Vancouver, which has iced nine newcomers this season.


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