VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks needed a big performance from their goaltender on a night the team honoured two of the best players in franchise history.
Jacob Markstrom set a franchise record with a career high 49 saves as Vancouver defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on the night the Canucks retired the numbers of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Markstrom said any win is important, but this was special with the Sedins being celebrated.
“They are such great people,” said Markstrom, who recorded his second shutout of the season and fifth of his career. “They are quiet e guys and they don’t really like to be in the centre of the room.
“They really deserve it and earned every applause. Everything that was said about them was well deserved.”
There was an electric atmosphere in the building for the retirement ceremony. The sold-out crowd was on its feet cheering as Henrik’s No. 33 and Daniel’s No. 22 were raised to the rafters at Rogers Arena.
“To the people of Vancouver and British Columbia, we came here in 1999 and it felt like home from day one,” said Henrik. “We want to thank you. To play in front of you has truly been an honour.”
In their 17 years as Canucks the Sedins played 2,637 games and combined for 633 goal and 1,478 assists. They are franchise leaders in seven major categories.
Joining the Sedins were their wives, children and parents. Also in attendance were past Canuck greats like Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund, Ryan Kessler, Alex Burrows, Roberto Luongo and Kevin Bieksa.
“You have all these alumni that meant a lot for this city,” said Markstrom. “You want to play good in front of them for sure.”
The 49 saves were the most by a Canuck goaltender since Kirk MacLean stopped 45 shots in a win over Montreal on Dec. 4, 1991.
It also was the most saves by any Swedish goaltender in an NHL shutout. Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson had both made 45 saves in shutouts.
Markstrom was marvellous as the badly outplayed Canucks were outshot 49-20. In the second period he stopped a Patrick Kane shot from the high slot after a Quinn Hughes giveaway. In the first he also got a pad on a shot from an open Dominik Kubalik.
“They were throwing a lot of pucks from bad angles, kind of from everywhere,” said Markstrom. “It was a battle.
“There is nothing more I like than to battle for 60 minutes with these guys.”
Bo Horvat, with a first-period power play, and Adam Gaudette gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Brandon Sutter added an empty-night goal and had two assists for the Canucks (32-21-5) who won their second straight game after going winless in four (0-3-1).
The Blackhawks (25-24-8) extended their winless streak to a season-high five games (0-3-2).
Horvat said it wasn’t pretty, but Vancouver would take the win.
“Sometimes your goalie has to come up clutch for you,” said the Canuck captain. “Marky was outstanding tonight.
“Without him it’s a different story. We owe him a lot, a lot of times this year, and tonight was one of those times.”
Chicago’s Jonathan Toews said his team had plenty of effort but little to show for it.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find way to find the back of the net and open the game up a little bit, especially with the way we were playing,” said the Chicago captain.
“Give their goaltender credit and their defenceman we’re good around the net clearing second chances. Maybe that’s something we can do a little bit better, getting numbers at the net and finding ways to get those ugly goals.”
Vancouver remains first in the Pacific Division with 69 points, three more than Edmonton and five ahead of Vegas.
The Blackhawk are six points back of Arizona for the final Wild Card playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Coach Jeremy Colliton believes his team can still make the playoffs.
“We think the guys in there believe we’re good enough to put a run together,” he said. “It starts with one (win) but today was a step forward in our performance. If we can continue that, and there’s no reason why we can’t, then we’ll get our wins.”
NOTES: Canuck forward Brock Boeser missed his second game with an upper-body injury. … Vancouver and Chicago split their previous two games with each team winning at home. … Vancouver didn’t get a shot on net until 9:56 of the first period. … The Blackhawks were wearing No. 22 and No. 33 stickers on their helmets.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2020.
© 2020 The Canadian Press