Daniel Sedin scored in overtime Tuesday as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a battle of clubs contending for top spot in the Western Conference. Sedin was right in front of goalie Cory Crawford to snap home brother Henrik Sedin’s centring pass from behind the net.
Vancouver, which got a stellar goaltending performance from goalie Cory Schneider, is 5-0 this season in games decided by overtime.
Ryan Kesler and Cody Hodgson, both with their 14th goals of the season, scored in regulation for Vancouver while Jamal Mayers and Viktor Stalberg replied for Chicago.
The Canucks won their third straight game to improve to 31-15-4 and move a point ahead of Chicago with a game in hand in the competitive West.
The Blackhawks lost their third in a row to slip to 29-15-7. Chicago won the conference title in 2009-10 while the Canucks were the champions last season.
Stalberg, who had chances earlier in the game, gave Chicago a 2-1 lead 1:17 into the third period when he banked a shot in off Canuck defender Alex Edler and behind Schneider.
But Hodgson, with his fourth goal in five games, equalized for Vancouver less than three minutes later when the Canucks took advantage of a Stalberg turnover.
Jannik Hansen found Hodgson alone at the Chicago blue-line and the Canuck forward deked Crawford twice before shooting past his glove.
The Hawks got an offensive boost to start the game when captain Jonathan Towes (arm) and winger Patrick Sharp (hand) returned from injuries, but Kesler opened the scoring by drilling a shot off the shaft of defender Duncan Keith’s stick.
The goal followed several Canuck chances when Hawks defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson struggled to get off the ice after blocking a shot. Hjalmarsson later returned.
Mayers, a fourth-line winger, provided a first-period tie for the Hawks, who have been in the lead in the West or close to it most of the season. Mayers banged in his fourth goal and first in 19 games as the Canucks were scrambling to clear the puck out of their zone.
Schneider had to be sharp late in the period when he came across his crease to stop Towes’ deflection and foil Stalberg’s attempt to bury the rebound.
Schneider made several key saves to preserve a 1-1 tie when Vancouver was outshot 18-6 in the middle period.
He denied Stalberg again when the Chicago forward broke in alone on a pass from Patrick Kane then robbed Andrew Shaw on the rebound.
Schneider brought the crowd to its feet with 4:23 remaining in the second period when he foiled Brendan Morrison after misplaying the puck behind his own net.
The Canuck goalie was prone on the ice but somehow got an arm on Morrison’s shot when the Hawk newcomer fired at a nearly wide open net.
Chicago almost won it in regulation when Kane’s shot hit defender Sami Salo and bounced off the post at the end of a Blackhawk power play.
Notes: Sharp was out eight games while Toews returned after missing one start ... Morrison made his Chicago debut after being dealt Friday by the Calgary Flames ... he was a Canuck from 2000 to 2008 ... Chicago is the Pitt Meadows, B.C. native’s seventh NHL team ... the Hawks have eight games remaining on their season-long road trip which ends Feb. 16 against the Rangers.
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