VANCOUVER—The big smile on Brendan Gaunce’s face spoke volumes.Gaunce scored his second goal of the game late in the third period, and the Vancouver Canucks overcame an early deficit to beat the Blackhawks 4-2 on Thursday night.His first goal in the second period tied the game 1-1. He scored his second with just 2:58 left in the third period. It came as the Blackhawks were pressing after cutting the Canuck lead to 3-2.
”It’s great to score goals,” Gaunce said. ”You gain confidence offensively.”
Gaunce has played 109 games over parts of three seasons for Vancouver, collecting five goals and six assists. The 23-year-old once went 95 games without a goal. His previous two goals this season came on the road, so his last goal Thursday earned a huge cheer from the announced crowd of 18,144.
”I couldn’t really hear,” he said. ”I was pretty zoned out after I scored. It’s good to contribute.”
Daniel Sedin and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks. Troy Stecher added two assists, and Vancouver won for the fifth time in eight games after a 2-11-3 stretch.The Canucks also won back-to-back games on home ice for the second time this season.Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat scored for the Hawks, who ended a two-game winning streak. Duncan Keith had two assists.The Hawks have not won three straight games since a five-game streak Dec. 8-17.Jacob Markstrom stopped 26 shots for Vancouver. Forsberg, making his third straight start, stopped 17 shots.Daniel Sedin made it 3-1 for Vancouver with 2:55 gone in the third. Jake Virtanen collected a puck in the slot, spun and fired a quick shot that Sedin tipped.DeBrincat drew the Hawks within in a goal when he scored on a slap shot over Markstrom’s glove at 10:19.The Canucks used a pair of second-period goals to take a 2-1 lead.Stecher also had a hand in Horvat’s goal at 9:58. He took a slap shot from the blue line that Horvat tipped for his 12th of the season.Schmaltz showed some speed in scoring the only goal of the first period. He took a pass from Brandon Saad, cut across the front of the net, then beat Markstrom with a backhand at 15:15 for his 14th goal.Jonathan Toews said the Blackhawks gave up too many good chances.
”We need to be better defensively,” he said. ”When pucks are around our net we have to make sure we are a little bit tougher and we’re not giving them easy chances around our net.”
NOTES—Erik Gudbranson returned to Vancouver’s lineup after missing five games with back spasms. … Blackhawk left wing Patrick Sharp was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. … Vancouver’s Sam Gagner didn’t return for the second period after suffering an injury when hitting Tomas Jurco in the opening period.