Canucks 5, Blackhawks 1

In a 30-second time frame early in the third in Vancouver on Saturday night, the Hawks went from ‘in it’ to ‘dead.’ 

A few minutes into the period, Jonathan Toews made a nifty move on a rebound in front of Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo to get it to his backhand and behind the netminder.  Toews’ goal cut the lead to two during a period the Hawks found decent pressure.  But, within about 30 seconds, a camped-out Daniel Sedin found Henrik Sedin from behind the net, and the Sedin with the superior scoring touch put a one-timer right under the bar and past Cristobal Huet – on in relief of Antti Niemi – for a renewed three-goal lead.

Though the Hawks kept decent pressure on the ‘Nucks throughout the remainder of the period, the goal was the game.  Daniel Sedin added a fifth late to round out the scoring.

All in all, the Canucks did another fantastic job of playing a reactive, but capable game.  Early, the home team was intent on skating with the young, fast Hawks, but played solid enough in the neutral zone to force routine dump-ins from three of the Hawks’ four lines.

Really, the Canucks’ ability to keep the Hawks out of scoring areas this season is mildly frightening.  Even without Sammi Salo, Willie Mitchell and Ms. Congeniality, Kevin Bieksa – and with former Hawk Nolan Baumgartner – on the back end, the Canucks were able to (i) routinely force the Hawks to move or dump the puck at the ‘Nuck blue line and (ii) play such positionally sound man-to-man in the defensive zone, the Hawks saw only a handful of decent chances all night.  Of course, Roberto Luongo was up to the task on 43 of the 44 Hawk shots.

Moreover, during the second and third periods, with a decent lead and no reason to leave the middle of the ice, the Canucks fell back in protection of their zone.  The Hawks weren’t able to mount an attack good enough to override the superior defensive play of the Canucks.

All in all, I think it’s one we can forget about.  A fairly even first saw the Canucks grab a three-goal lead, and that was all she wrote. 

One More Thing

This may be a good time to point out what’s likely obvious to most of us: an NHL season is very different from a college football season in that one loss won’t end any team’s championship hopes.  In fact, the Pittsburgh Penguins, last year’s Stanley Cup champs, lost 28 games during the regular season; the Red Wings lost 21 the season prior and won the Cup.

My point is that at some point during the past few months, many have lost touch with an NHL reality.  Even the league’s best teams will lose a quarter of its games – at best – and no single loss is reason enough to make some sort of change.

So, sometimes a loss in the middle of a brutal road trip is just that: a loss in the middle of a brutal road trip and not some larger sign that the Hawks aren’t good enough to compete with the league’s big boys come springtime.

In that vein, I’ll be looking forward to Tuesday’s game in Edmonton.

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12 Responses to Canucks 5, Blackhawks 1

  1. Ben says:

    Excellent point at the end there. Nice report as usual. Thanks very much
    Ben, UK

  2. Mike says:

    Were it that this was truly one blip along the way, I would agree we should think no more about and chalk it up to a long road trip loss. In last night’s game though, the Hawks were absolutely owned and schooled on what strong defense means. No, this isn’t a statement that the Hawks can’t compete with the very best teams. On the other hand, I feel like I am seeing the Hawks lose in a very specific way as of late and in stunning fashion last night. The game against the Wild was one thing, they blew a huge lead, but at least they had that huge lead. Last night, the game was over in the first period. No doubt, they haven’t gotten some bounces the last couple of games, and in some games down the road that will go their way. Still, last night’s game is the one that should be the wake up call rather then the game where they blew a lead.

  3. illinikc33 says:

    I have to disagree with your contention that we saw few decent chances—I think we had a ton of chances, and that Luongo was spectacular. Eager and Madden alone had 3-4 golden opportunities each that Luongo stoned.

    It was a very frustrating game to watch—our passing was shit and it seemed like they blocked a great many shots, even though we had 43. All in all, the middle of a road trip. Carry on.

  4. blackhawkbob says:

    No doubt about it, Illini; Madden and Eager had a handful of chances. But, really, when the chances are coming from the third and fourth lines, are they really great chances? I though Vancouver did a great job defensively against the top two lines in particular.

  5. Lou says:

    You have to wonder if a powerplay less than 30 seconds into the start of the game messes with your rhythym. It shouldn’t but it is a thought. Seems to me that we rally never got in a rhythym.

    Second, I was skeptical on the goalie change but Huet did solid. So Q looks like he did the right thing.

    This is at least the second time that we score a goal and the give up one in the ensuing minute after a goal. The most likely times you are suseptible it the the first or last minute of the period, and the first minute after a goal.

    We need another stay at home own the slot D man. Seabrook needs to really wake up he has been very sloppy the last 5 to 7 games.

    One thing that was nice to see as the Hossa was still backing checking his ass off in the last minutes.

    And no, Laraque wouldn’t have stopped the cheap cross check by Erhoff who of course will then hide.

  6. Dave Morris says:

    Don’t sugar coat this one, gentlemen.

    An ever worse game than what they showed against the Sens.

    I was ready to turn it off after the first period. The Hawks’ wretched lack of defensive coverage, and refusal to mount pre-emptive strikes on a well prepared opponent, were a disgrace.

    Maybe these guys think they come back from 0-2 and 0-3 deficits just like that…well, they can’t.

    And this should end the so-called ‘goalie controversy’. Niemi didn’t look confident, and he certainly didn’t have reason to be confident.

    Edmonton is a trap game. So the Blackhawks had better get it together. No matter how comfortable they are atop the Central, complacency has a way of undermining even the best team.

  7. JR's Yapper says:

    ahhhhhh. The sky is falling!

  8. Lee says:

    John, Lou, and Dave:

    Every I talk about an enforcer or at least a tough guy all three of you come back at me with the Hawks have team toughness. If it was ever proven that they don’t it was last night. No reaction when Sopel, Ham sandwich, and Toews were smashed into the boards. They will not win the Cup or even get there if they dont get some Team Toughness. Buff, Brower, and even Eager now seam to stay away from anything physical and the good teams on West and East Coasts will play the Hawks just as they were played last night and they will be in big doody. I am sure that all three of you will disagreee with me so I cant wait for your responses….

  9. Lou says:

    Lee,

    I’ll give you kudos for consistency.

    You want a goon. Period end of story. You can spin any way you want. Rationalize it anyway you can and it all points back to your same broken record. Goon, Goon, Goon, to stop someone from taking a cheapshot.

    How is a goon gonna protect Toews when they skate 8 out of 60 minutes and are most likely on the bench when it happens? Answer they’re not. And surely they aren’t gonna skate first line minutes.

    Did Toews not get a slash immediatley after that hit? Was there not a scrum behind the net? Weren’t there a bunch of penalties. Did Andrew Ladd not fight Kesler last night?

    Our guys are going to get hit. We can’t put them in a sumo suit on skates. They also need to stand up for themselves or it will keep happening. Kane’s Rookie year v. Detroit, Chelios cross checked him 5 or 6 times after the whistle before Kane responded.

    What our team needs to do later is have our guys hit a Sedin and hit him hard enough so the other one pisses chablis. That’s how you send the message.

    The 1980s, 1990s game is now over. Turn in your Grimson jersey.
    Everytime one of our stars gets hit you want a bench clearing brawl or five guys to fight! It doesn’t work that way. And to show you even more Gaborik drops the gloves at super goon Carcillo and everyone gets on Carcillo. Gaborik starts it. But the goons don’t hit stars unwritten rule exists. And wait, Ovechkin (Superman) drops em with Downie and another guy jumps in when Ovie instigated it. Let Ovie Fight. He started it he finishes it and if he got hurt during it then he was dumb in the first place.

    And btw, Toews got crosschecked by a typical eurowuss in Erhoff. Hit and run fashion. Kind of hard to deter that.

  10. Lou says:

    And Lee Thanks for keeping the spirit alive it gives us something to channel a pisspoor loss too!

    As Dave would say, Stay Committed

  11. Dave Morris says:

    Lee> when did *I* say the Hawks have ‘team toughness’?

    The Blackhawks have plenty of big, young players who can duke it out with anybody. (Example: Ben Eager can play like David Clarkson, though he not often enough).

    But when the Hawks bring their powderpuffs to the game instead of playing smart, tough hockey…they lose.

    Plain and simple.

    You think The Boogie Man, Lash Laraque or David Koci would have changed the outcome last night?

    Hold on…Bob McKenzie has Sharp being traded for Carcillo. Via Twitter, natch.

    @JR’s Yapper>you don’t think complacency is insidious? Look at last year’s Sharks.

  12. lee Rosenberg says:

    I am past the goon stage but what I want to see is retaliation when one of our top guys get laid out

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