There goes the momentum again.
After the Hawks stormed back with a road win in Game 2, the Canucks came out in a racous United Center, weathered the early storm, and then put on a clinic in winning a playoff game on the road. They got an early lead; they extended their lead; they had a couple bounces go their way; they hung on to their lead.
Just like that, the Canucks recaptured home ice advantage.
The Hawks had every chance to jump on the Canucks early. Ossi Vaananen, filling in for the injured Sami Salo, took a bad penalty a minute into the game. With the Hawks buzzing around Roberto Luongo, they had more than their share of chances to draw first blood.
It never happened.
Their best chance came after Taylor Pyatt took a boarding penalty. Cam Barker snuck down low on the ensuing power play, Jonathan Toews hit him with a pass, and the puck slid right through Luongo’s legs and across the crease.
Minutes later, Nikolai Khabibulin made a poor pass around the boards; Ben Eager let Kevin Bieksa beat him to the loose puck; Matt Walker misplayed 2-on-1 down low and Mason Raymond deposited the puck into the empty net to give the Canucks the lead.
With less than a minute left in the period, Patrick Kane got called for hooking after having a shot blocked (that would be a trend). The Canucks capitalized on that power play the following period when Steve Bernier banged home an Alex Edler point shot.
For good measure, Henrik Sedin scored eight minutes later and the Canucks found themselves in a similar position, up big.
Three minutes later, the Hawks finally got on the board when Brian Campbell ripped a power play point shot past Luongo. The goal breathed life into the team who looked like they were sleep-walking through a game in March instead of fighting for their playoff lives.
From there, Luongo and the Canucks were too strong in the defensive end to allow another comeback from the Hawks.
The best chance to cut into Vancouver’s lead came in the third period after Alex Edler launched a puck into the stands for a delay of game penalty 28 seconds into the third period. Brian Campbell came barrelling down the left wing, he threw the puck towards the net; it got deflected by a Canuck and glanced off the cross bar. The puck slid across the crease and Dustin Byfuglien got a few whacks at it before Luongo froze it.
After that, any chance the Hawks had was turned away by Luongo or a Canuck. As a team, they finished with an astronomical 20 blocks.
Leftover Thoughts from Game 3
–When Eddie O mentioned halfway through the third that he had Vancouver marked down for 13 blocks, I figured he was sniffing glue again. Then I counted them on the play-by-play report after the game and found that Vancouver notched 20 blocks total. That is ridiculously high. For all the time and pressure the Hawks had (they had a decent amount), most of it was negated by Vancouver’s ability to prevent shots from getting to Luongo. That’s probably the biggest reason why the Hawks were hesitant to shoot in the waning minutes of the third more than anything else.
–This will fall upon deaf ears I’m sure because the people that were guilty of this probably don’t read blogs like this but that was absolutely embarassing for the majority of the 100 section to clear out with a minute left. This is the playoffs, you stay until the end if it’s close enough that the goalie has to be pulled.
The Hawks have rallied from deficits of 2 and 3 just in the past week and for good measure, the NCAA champion Boston Terriers scored 2 goals in the final 40 seconds to force overtime in the National Championship. Congratulations, you’ve just admitted to everyone you know nothing about hockey and are a newbie douche nozzle.
–I’m not sure the reason (and maybe I’m better off not knowing) for the boo birds with 7 minutes to go. This loss wasn’t due to a lack of effort, it was due to the fact that Vancouver was the better team. It happens.
–Bobby and I are doing a piece for Thursday’s ‘Committed Indian’ about the aforementioned newbie doosh nozzles. Be sure to pick one up.