Blackhawks vs. Canucks: 3 stars of the game

The Blackhawks played with tired legs and spent much of the night chasing the puck, dropping their first of the Circus Trip in Vancouver. Who stood out as a moral victory in the loss?

It has been a rarity that the Chicago Blackhawks have found themselves out-possessed for 60 minutes of hockey this season, but that's just what happened against the Vancouver Canucks in Part 3 of the Circus Trip on Sunday night. Of course, it's important to note that the Hawks' tilt in Vancouver was their third in four nights, which leads to somewhat of a justification of their sluggish play throughout the night. As a result, the final score became something of an expectation in the 4-1 loss for the Hawks.

Apparently an ass-kicking makes one tired the following day. There isn't too much of note to talk or rant about for this one, so let's just get to the stars:

3. Duncan Keith

This is more due to the fact that Keith had to continue to endure constant booing at the hands of the Vancouver faithful thanks to the Sedin-elbowing that transpired a few years ago. I though the rivalry here was dead. Whatever. Keith was a minus-2 for the night, but led the Hawks defensive corps in Corsi, as he and Brent Seabrook were the only ones to actually break into the positive in that area. He had an assist on the Versteeg goal, the only tally of the night for the Hawks.

2. Kris Versteeg

It was joked on Twitter that you should expect another Versteeg column any day from yours truly (but seriously, it's coming). As the only goal scorer for the Blackhawks, he's on here by default, but even if that wasn't the case, he'd be in the mix. Versteeg continues to play exceptionally strong hockey for the Hawks, much to the chagrin of the party poopers throughout the Chicago fanbase. Versteeg scored on a deflection from a Duncan Keith shot on the power play during the second period. He's been seeing a healthy chunk of ice time thanks to his strong play, as he logged nearly 20 minutes on Sunday. There's going to be a regression at some point, but it's great to see him playing this well right now.

1. Corey Crawford

Sure, three goals allowed on the night (the fourth came on an empty net), but Crawford held up well despite the team in front of him running on tired legs. Crawford made 26 saves on the night, despite some high quality chances from the Vancouver side. Given that the Canucks ran the table in the Corsi department for much of the night, the sub-.900 save percentage is certainly a deceiving number. The bottom line is that without Crawford, this one had the potential to get out of hand.

The Blackhawks get a couple days off before the meet the regression tournament champion Colorado Avalanche.

Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.