Game 5: Blackhawks 4, Canucks 2

And, just like that, the lower seeded team has given itself a chance to close out the series at home.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

Though the Blackhawks finally scored first on Saturday night in Vancouver, the Canucks rallied to take a 2-1 lead mid-way through the game, and the Hawks, once again, found themselves trailing in a close playoff game.

More than 15 minutes into the first, Mr. Dustin Byfuglien went to the net, found a juicy Brian Campbell rebound and slammed it home.  Campbell’s one-timer came off a nice cross-ice set-up from Kris Versteeg.

But, never straying too far from script, the ‘Nucks scored two to put themselves in the driver’s seat again.  Late in the first, Kyle Wellwood floated one to the slot from the hash marks on the side boards.  On its way to the net, the slowly moving puck hit a couple impediments, including Ryan Kesler’s stick, and squeaked through Nikoalai Khabibulin’s legs.  Then, mid-way through the second, on a 3-2 break, Mats Sundin rifled a bullet past Khabibulin to take the Canucks’ only lead of the night. 

 The Sundin goal came after about a minute of sustained Blackhawk pressure and a missed centering pass from the stick of Troy Brouwer, ticketed for Samuel Pahlsson’s tape.  Pahlsson moved to his left just before the puck left Brouwer, and the loose puck gave Vancouver a break the other way.

The Hawks weren’t done.

In the final two minutes of the second period and on the power play, Brian Campbell, moving across the point with the puck, found Dustin Byfuglien streaking down the middle from top to bottom.  The puck found Buff in the slot, and a quick snap shot evened the game at two.  The second goal told the same story as the first: a good decision by Campbell and a finish by Byfuglien.

Then, late in the third after an exciting final frame controlled by the Blackhawks, the Hawks finally got the chance they were waiting for.  After a zone-hold by Patrick Kane, the puck found its way back to Kane along the half-wall.  Kane had room, walked towards the net and found Dave Bolland on the far side buck naked.  Bolland took his time, waited for Luongo to dive across the crease and threw a bullet past the goaltender for the Hawks’ first lead since the first period. 

What Kane didn’t realize was the defenseman on his side, Willie Mitchell, was without a stick, though judging from Mitchell’s penchant for giving up big goals, it’s unlikely he could have done anything to stop Kane with room.

To round out the game and the scoring, Havlat took advantage of a Ryan Kesler offensive zone blowout and went in alone on an empty net, sealing the deal and giving the Hawks their first lead in the series at 3-2.

Other Notes from Game Five:

— Imagine the spring time backlash if Dale Tallon would have swapped Dustin Byfuglien for Michael Nylander, as many Hawk fans proposed early in the season.

As we’ve guessed in this space before, the offseason reality may be Byfuglien or Martin Havlat, and it’s not clear at this point Tallon will choose Havlat.  In fact, with each Byfuglien hit and goal, it becomes more likely Buff will stay.  The question becomes: is there enough wealth left to keep Havlat?

With a handful of teams reportedly ready to pursue Havlat, it’s unlikely money won’t lead him elsewhere.

— After getting 11 on net in the first, the Hawks held Vancouver to five shots in each of the final periods.  Though Brent Seabrook got caught flat-footed a couple times, the Keith-Seabrook pairing played very well, leaving the Sedin sisters with just one assist on the night combined.

— The Toews/Kane line played very well Saturday night.  Brouwer played on the wing for most of the night with Patrick Sharp getting some late opportunities to play with the young gentlemen.  Brouwer played well again.

— Shane O’Brien and Kevin Bieksa should learn to concentrate on hockey, eh?  Each seemingly chirps all game long, and both took stupid penalties in a close playoff game that led to Blackhawk power play goals.  In a scrum following a whistle late in the second, O’Brien attempted to goat Byfuglien into a fight.  Instead he got a knuckle sandwich from Matt Walker, who didn’t approve of the Hawks’ best player being taunted.  O’Brien got a five minute major and a roughing call.  A minute later, Byfuglien tied the game, scooting down the middle of the slot off a pass from Campbell.

Bieksa raked Sharp over the face with his stick while tripping him with his leg from behind in the third.  Moments later, Kane found a wide open Bolland for the winning goal.

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2 Responses to Game 5: Blackhawks 4, Canucks 2

  1. Lou says:

    You said it Mr. Byfuglien. He is in their heads. I would put a headshot of him in every locker in their locker room. Above every stall, print it on TP, have his name be whispered in white noise over the sound system. Call their hotel rooms and say compliments of Mr. Byfuglien.

    On TSN website, the whining fans bitching about the reffing can all go back to the Yukon on their snowmobiles. They have been getting away with murder and getting every homer call there is. Kane got Elbowed, High Sticked twice and all no calls. He did act a little bit but they were blatant penalties that weren’t called. And when they finally, said enough we go the critical PP and tied it. Thanks Bieskum.

    Ladd’s second penalty was dumb but to not call Salo for nearly wrapping the guy backwards around the crossbar was priceless. Even better I will gladly take a Matt Walker-Shane O’Brien misconduct trade off any day of the week. Good Job Matt. Whiners the lot of them and Bieskum got exactly what he deserved – two PP goals at his expense for being a dumbass. So the Canuck fans should just shut up, they again got tons of breaks and still got beat.

    Kaner played one of his best games in a long time. Took shots when he had them, took hits, kept a crucial puck in the PP zone, avoided a key raymond hit, and hit Bolland for the winner. A good two way game from him and much needed. Same with Soup, played well again. Toews has been quiet so we could use some from him.

    Finally, what a classless lack of sportsmanship from the Cafuck fans by throwing debris on the ice when they didn’t get their 600th break. Your team gooned it up all game, got away with murder, and plain got beat so you throw your cup on the ice. One of your guys can get hurt too. Clue phone, answer it. Then what do you expect from a fan base that supports guys that pull hair?

    Come out early, score fast and send Canada out of cup contention!!!!!

    GO Hawks!!!!!!!

  2. punishing says:

    I wonder if both this series and the one against Calgary would have turned out any differently thus far if both teams did not have as seemingly their #1 goal to physically beat us up, both during the games and after the whistle. If they concentrated on scoring goals, who knows?! Anyway, simply 5 on 5 domination—glad to see us returning to form from games 1 and 2 (yes, we dominated the last 40 minutes of game 1)

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