CHICAGO (AP) — Elias Pettersson scored twice, Phillip Di Giuseppe scored, Brock Boeser got an empty-netter, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Sunday night.
The Canucks won their third straight and sent the Blackhawks to their fifth straight defeat.
The Blackhawks celebrated Pride night, honoring the city’s gay community, without rainbow-colored Pride warmup jerseys or colored stick tape used in previous seasons. The organization made the decision to go without the warmup jerseys because of an anti-gay Kremlin law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December that could imperil Russian athletes when they return home.
Defenseman Nikita Zaitsev was the only Russian-born Blackhawk in the lineup on Sunday. Injured center Philipp Kurashev holds dual Swiss-Russian citizenship.
Pettersson scored his 34th and 35th goals of the season in the third period. His first, a deep-angle shot from the right side, broke the tie at 12:06. His second, on a power-play, came from the slot in the middle of a pileup 63 seconds later. Andrei Kuzmenko assisted on both goals.
“Listen, I’m happy we won,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “I just didn’t like our start. We came on at the end.”
Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy opened the scoring, beating Canucks goalie Collin Delia with a 55-foot wrist shot with 3:59 left in the first period. It was the sixth goal of the season for Murphy who last scored on Jan. 23.
“I think we just stuck with it regardless of the situation,” said Delia. “We kept on going. I think that’s just a testament to our group. That’s the type of habits we’re trying to build. Just the commitment we have to each other day in and day out, the little habits, the practice habits.
“We’re kind of reaping the rewards of that right now.”
Di Giuseppe tied it at 1 with 17 seconds left in the second period, his centering pass from the right slot caroming into the Chicago net off the left instep of Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones. Goaltender Petr Mrazek could not react to the deflection.
Rookie Lukas Reichel scored his fifth goal of the season to pull Chicago within 3-2 with 1:42 remaining, but an empty-net goal by Vancouver’s Boeser finished the scoring.
Delia stopped 29 shots in picking up his ninth win. Mrazek made 27 saves in recording his 20th loss.
Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi went to the locker room with an injury midway through the second period and did not return.
“When you go five deep you’ve got to try to decide when to jump in the play and be aggressive,” Jones said of playing with an odd number of defensemen. “I thought we did a good job.”
RICHARDSON, MURPHY BOOST PRIDE NIGHT
Before the game, Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said of Pride night, “I’m appreciative of being involved with it. I know the whole organization’s committed 365 days a year, not just today. That’s the biggest message we want to show the community – support.”
Richardson and defenseman Murphy addressed gay fans on a scoreboard video during the first commercial break, Murphy concluding it by saying, “You are welcome here.”
After the game, Murphy said players didn’t use rainbow-colored tape on their sticks because it wasn’t available, adding, “Sometimes they have it for us here and we use it. When it’s not, we don’t use it. That’s all I know.”
Canucks: at St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Blackhawks: host Dallas on Tuesday night. ___
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Tim Cronin, The Associated Press