for this game

Lalime posts shutout in season debut

Feb 8, 2007 - 6:48 AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- It took a strong season debut by Patrick Lalime for the Chicago Blackhawks to end a long drought at General Motors Place.

Lalime made 34 saves and defenseman Adrian Aucoin scored the winning goal as the Blackhawks halted an eight-game skid in the Pacific Northwest with a 3-0 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks.

After undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in early September, Lalime dressed for his first game with Chicago on January 28, serving as Nikolai Khabibulin's backup against Calgary. The 32-year-old, who signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent in July, finally saw his first action with the team in this one as Khabibulin received a well-deserved rest.

"I was a little nervous, of course, at the beginning, but I tried to get my mind out of it and just go and do my best, and I had a lot of help tonight," Lalime said.

The decision by Chicago coach Denis Savard proved to be a smart one as Lalime turned aside 12 shots in the first period, 15 in the second and seven in the third en route to his 34th career shutout. The netminder's strong play was the key reason the Blackhawks were able to post their first win in Vancouver since October 4, 2001.

"I think the most important thing is the win," Lalime said. "(The shutout is) nice, and I was looking forward to getting back on the ice."

"We wanted to get him the win tonight and help him as much as we can, and I think we did," said Blackhawks All-Star Martin Havlat, a teammate of Lalime's in Ottawa. "They had a couple great chances and he was unbelievable tonight. I'm really happy to see him get the win after almost a year of injuries."

Lalime received all the support he needed from his captain. The recipient of a terrible giveaway by Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell, Aucoin unleashed a one-timer from the right point that was deflected by Vancouver blue-liner Kevin Bieksa past All-Star goaltender Roberto Luongo with 3:46 remaining in the second period, snapping a scoreless tie.

"They got a lucky bounce, but that being said, we didn't generate the type of chances we should have," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "We had five power plays and we didn't score, and it's our top offensive personnel playing."

Despite a pair of bad plays, Luongo refused to lay the blame on his defensemen.

"We just didn't create enough scoring chances, that was the bottom line," he said. "We didn't score, they got a lucky goal, and that was pretty much it."

It was the third goal of the season and second game-winner for Aucoin, who has missed 20 games due to injury.

Prior to the tally, Luongo was knocked down by Bieksa during a sequence of shots that left the puck lying in the crease. Mitchell took it out of harm's way but dished it directly to Aucoin, resulting in the winning shot.

Havlat and Radim Vrbata set up each other for empty-net goals in the final minute for Chicago, which improved to 3-1-0 on its season-high seven-game road trip.

"Every game for us is a tough game," Havlat said. "There's no easy games, and the last five or six games, we've played much better hockey than we were playing before. I think everybody's working hard, and that's the least we can do. I think tonight we played the best game of the whole season defensively. We didn't make any mistakes."

The effort by the Blackhawks was especially impressive considering the fashion in which they posted a 3-2 victory at Calgary on Tuesday. With Chicago trailing, 2-0, Havlat scored twice in the final 2:43 of the third period before netting the decisive goal in a shootout.

The Canucks also were on the road Tuesday, skating to a 5-2 triumph at Edmonton.

"We shouldn't be feeling sorry for ourselves," Vancouver captain Markus Naslund said. "They played last night and they traveled, too."

"The quality of chances we were able to generate in Edmonton compared to the quality of chances that we generated tonight were not at all the same," Vigneault said. "We all expected better from ourselves tonight. We expected better execution and we just didn't get it from the whole group."

Luongo stopped 20 shots for the Canucks, who fell to 2-2-2 in their last six home contests.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Naslund said. "At times, we didn't match their intensity, and we can't do that."

"We've dropped (games to) Columbus, LA and Chicago at home now in the last couple weeks," Luongo said. "It's just inexcusable to lose against those teams, especially all three of them."

After his earlier miscue, Mitchell again turned over the puck in his own zone with Vancouver already trailing, 2-0, setting up Havlat's empty-netter, which extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 1 2 3
    VANCOUVER 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: CHI - ADRIAN AUCOIN 3 (UNASSISTED) 16:14
    3RD PRD: CHI - (EN) RADIM VRBATA 8 (MARTIN HAVLAT) 19:04
    CHI - (EN) MARTIN HAVLAT 20 (RADIM VRBATA) 19:56
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: CHI - 0 OF 2, VAN - 0 OF 5.
    SHOT

    Feb 8 12:28 AM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 3
    VANCOUVER 0
    3RD PRD: CHI - (EN) MARTIN HAVLAT 20 (RADIM VRBATA) 19:56

    Blackhawks vs. CanucksFeb 8 12:27 AM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 2
    VANCOUVER 0
    3RD PRD: CHI - (EN) RADIM VRBATA 8 (MARTIN HAVLAT) 19:04

    Blackhawks vs. CanucksFeb 8 12:25 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 1 1
    VANCOUVER 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: CHI - ADRIAN AUCOIN 3 (UNASSISTED) 16:14
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHI 9 9 18
    VAN 12 15 27
    GOALIES: CHI - PATRICK LALIME
    VAN

    Feb 7 11:34 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 1
    VANCOUVER 0
    2ND PRD: CHI - ADRIAN AUCOIN 3 (UNASSISTED) 16:14

    Blackhawks vs. CanucksFeb 7 11:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 0
    VANCOUVER 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHI 9 9
    VAN 12 12
    GOALIES: CHI - PATRICK LALIME
    VAN - ROBERTO LUONGO

    Feb 7 10:40 PM