Perhaps we should have noted a disclaimer for our short series prediction: It wasn’t made with the thought of Antti Niemi of completing wetting himself.
You could toss out any immeasurable intangible that gets thrown around after a playoff loss: intensity, urgency, desire, whatever. The bottom line is whatever buzz the Hawks created with their decent first period went right down the toilet when Niemi kicked a juicy rebound on a lazy flip shot from the corner with less than 15 seconds in the opening frame.
If people want to start throwing rose petals at the feet of Michael Grabner and Rick Rypien while proclaiming the Canucks four lines deep, then I would recommend you not operate any heavy machinery.
The reasons for why the Hawks looked so bad on Saturday are endless but the simplest (and probably most correct) reason was they were let down in net; the Canucks were not. End of story.
Dress Adam Burish. Stop changing lines. Brent Sopel sucks again. No intensity. No FIRE! No PASSION!
None of those factors matter if Niemi doesn’t crap the bed. It’s not like the Hawks are asking him to channel his inner Jaroslav Halak. Just make the saves that need to be made.
With that all being said, Game 2 should be much different assuming the Hawks receive semi-competent goaltending. In the first and third periods in Game 1, the Canucks defense was having all sorts of problems with the quicker Hawk forwards. That trend will continue however long the series lasts.
Hopefully, Luongo’s stellar play doesn’t.
A couple things to watch for the rest of this series: Apparently, Marian Hossa didn’t skate in warm-ups before Game 1. Judging by how ineffective he was, that might not be the best idea for the rest of the series.
The most important thing, for me, to see tomorrow is to make sure Patrick Sharp stays at center. It will be very tempting for Joel Quenneville to move Sharp up with Kane and Toews but there simply isn’t enough depth at center to be yanking your 2nd best center all over the place.