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Canucks clinch Northwest with win over Blackhawks

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2013 at 1:37 am •  Published: April 23, 2013
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Daniel Sedin helped the Vancouver Canucks clinch their fifth straight Northwest Division title in style.

Sedin scored a breakaway goal and added an assist on the winner as the Canucks posted a 3-1 victory over the NHL-leading Chicago Blackhawks. In the process, the Swede moved into second place on the Canucks' career scoring list with 758 points. Twin brother Henrik Sedin recorded two assists on the night and now has 791 career points for Vancouver.

Fans at Rogers Arena recognized Daniel Sedin's accomplishment with a standing ovation.

"It was a little surprising — second place, I don't know how big a deal that is," he said with a laugh. "But it was nice for both me and Henrik. It's a big thing for us."

A bigger thing was the division title.

Vancouver's eighth straight victory at Rogers Arena guaranteed the Canucks (26-13-7) home-ice advantage in at least the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"If we play like we did today, I think we're good," Daniel Sedin said. "It hasn't looked like that all the games, but this was one of the more complete games. We've been battling through a lot this year, but tonight was a step in the right direction."

The Blackhawks (34-6-5) made clinching first place overall a bit more difficult for themselves as they suffered their second straight loss.

"We got outworked," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "They played hard. It was one of those games where they had the playoff intensity — and we didn't respond."

Jannik Hansen and Zack Kassian, with the winner, also scored for the Canucks, who have distanced themselves from the slumping Minnesota Wild in the past few weeks. Cory Schneider made 24 saves to get the win.

Henrik Sedin said the performance was his team's best of the season.

"We got everyone back, rolling the lines," he said. "There was no hesitation, the (defense) was pinching, the forwards were covering for them — easy breakouts, just overall a good feeling."

Daniel Carcillo replied for Chicago, which got 29 saves from Cory Crawford and trailed 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second.

"It's always nice to beat the best team in the NHL, but our second goal every year after making the playoffs is to clinch the division title," Schneider said. "It speaks to the success this team has had in the past five, six years of winning titles and stuff like this.

"We'll enjoy this for about 10 minutes and then worry about the (Anaheim) Ducks coming to town (Thursday)."

The Blackhawks are trying to win their first President's Trophy since 1991, when Mike Keenan was the coach. Chicago has 73 points with three games remaining, while Pittsburgh has 70 points with three games also left on its schedule.

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