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Blackhawks down road-weary Canucks 6-3

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Chicago Blackhawks moved into a share of first place in the Western Conference with a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.

Chicago cruised to a 5-1 lead by the end of the first period to chase Vancouver's starting goalie Roberto Luongo from the game. Luongo, who won an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada on Sunday, was replaced by Andrew Raycroft.

"It's definitely not the way we wanted to start this game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told reporters.

"We wanted to play a disciplined game like we did in Detroit, and that wasn't the case tonight. Without a doubt, in the first period they were the much better team. They got Grade A chances and were able to bury those chances."

Animosity between the teams was evident early on, with 12 minutes in penalties assessed just 37 seconds into the opening period. Overall there were 50 minutes in penalties, 28 going to the Canucks.

"We play these guys a lot," Duncan Keith told reporters. "Every time we play these guys it's a lot of emotion and intensity. It was no different tonight."

Andrew Ladd, Keith, Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg and Jordan Hendry scored for the Hawks in the first period, with Ryan Kesler finding the net for the Canucks.

"We knew we had to have a big effort against Vancouver, one of our biggest rivals this season and last season too," Hendry told reporters.

"It was huge for us to get a win against them. They've had our number the last few games so it was nice to get the effort."

Vancouver's Alex Burrows and Chicago's Marian Hossa traded goals in the second period before Mikael Samuelsson scored for Vancouver in the third.

It was the Canucks' 10th consecutive game on the road. The team has not played in Vancouver since January 30 as their home ice was used for the Winter Olympics.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Peter Rutherford)