Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
There are so many story lines from last night’s 7-2 whipping of the Vancouver Canucks from the Chicago Blackhawks; I don’t know where to start. So I’ll just start typing away.
The Hawks were definitely the hungrier team, with way more motivation to remain alive in this series being down 3-0. This showed in the first few minutes of the game when the Hawks started pounding at will, each and every Canucks in their site. It also didn’t hurt that they scored the first goal at the 1:43 mark of the opening period to spark the Mad House on Madison.
Canucks responded with a power play goal of their own three minutes later and came out of the first period tied one all. After that it was all Chicago.
Hawks centre Dave Bolland, returning from the lineup from a concussion, was like David Copperfield as he made the Sedins disappear, reminiscent of last year’s playoffs. Bolland also scored a goal and three assists and was a -/plus four, along with two hits. Chicago woke up from its slumber and dominated the Hits department 44-33, with most of those coming in the first two periods.
By the end of the second period the score was 5-1 and they should have stopped the game and evoked the mercy rule. Hawks were not about to show any mercy nor was the Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, as Roberto Luongo was not hooked until it was 6-1, early in the third period.
That was the sixth time that Luongo has allowed five or more games in the playoffs. Why the Canucks allowed Luongo to start the third period down 5-1 is puzzling at best. Chalk it up to Vigneault being outcoached again by Chicago.
Alex Burrows has no goals and one assist in this series and right now is not helping the Sedins on that line. Mikael Samuelsson, who has also played with the Twins, still does not look like himself. I still believe he is playing injured or is suffering from some illness, because he doesn’t have any compete to his game.
Burrows is the healthiest he has been in two playoffs and he still is a non-factor. Maybe he needs to go back to his agitation best to be effective in the playoffs, because right now he belongs on the fourth line.
Alex Edler after playing all world in the first two games, looks like he hasn’t played hockey in two seasons. He was on the ice for three goals last night and three goals the game before.
Slow, poor reads, one hit, out of position, back to his stick checking ways, pretty well describes him and the rest of the defense, or should I say team.
Edler wasn’t alone, as the whole defense along with the forwards were outplayed, out-competed, out-hit, out-scored, you name it they were on the out-side. This embarrassment, coming once again in the playoffs, cannot be all laid at the skates of Luongo. This was a total lack of effort and desire to match the Hawks intensity by the whole team.
The Hawks must be giggling crazy with excitement, as they now have the Canucks just where they want them. Chicago has to be thinking they are now back in the series, having played like they believe they can, with hope and vision of coming back to crush the Canucks play-offs drive once again.
Wasn’t a couple of series ago when the Canucks were up 2-1 in games, leading in the fourth game, but eventually losing that game and the following two? Does that ring a bell?
We have heard all season about this team maturin, being accountable in the dressing room and on the ice. Many pages have been written about its record winning season and the depth that this team has.
The best Canucks team ever the media has spouted. Well – we shall see if this was all a mirage or is real on Thursday night. Either the Canucks draw from a similar game on November 20th, when the Hawks beat them 7-1, or they allow the opposition to crawl back into this series.
For the record, the Canucks went 44-19 (all OT & SO games counted as a win) after November 20th and earned 88 out of a possible 104 points. If that run can be duplicated again, then the thumping served its purpose to wake the Canucks up.
Footnote: I told you in the previous articles that this was a closer series than the 3-0 indicated.
Ryan Kesler – no goals but does have three assists and is a -/plus 2, is due to break out of his scoring slump. Watch for him to be a difference maker in game five.
Wouldn’t be surprised to see either Aaron Rome or Andrew Alberts replace Keith Ballard in the lineup for game five.
Photo Credits – AP, Getty Images, Goggle Images and Yahoo Sports!
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Filed under: Vancouver Canucks