Game 5: Canucks 4, Blackhawks 1

And, we’re back… 

In a game that, at times, seemed to mirror the script of Game 1 of the series, the Vancouver Canucks took their second game of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, forcing Game 6 in Vancouver to be played Tuesday night.

Much like Game 1, the Hawks came out of the gate stronger.  Just like the first home game of the series, though, Roberto Luongo stood tall, stopping first shots and controlling rebounds in a way has hasn’t recently.

Less than a minute into the game and following a Hawks’ icing, Christian Ehrhoff floated a seeing-eye wrister towards the net.  While Antti Niemi seemed to track it, his attempt to glove it from the air failed.  Then, with a little over five minutes left to play in the opening period, a some nifty cross-ice passing on the breakout earned the ‘Nucks a zone entry with speed.  Once in the zone, Kyle Wellwood found Kevin Bieksa streaking to the net, and Bieksa tapped it past Niemi for the two-goal lead. 

Then, midway through the second and on the power play, Bieksa one-timed a cross-ice feed, beating Niemi to the short side.

It all seemed to rattle the Hawks, who to this point in the series had grown used to getting pucks and bodies to the net and finding rebounds and second chances.  As Luongo gobbled up more first shots, the Hawks offensive game – though superior to the Canucks all evening – seemed to slow.  It wasn’t until Jonathan Toews redirected a Duncan Keith point shot with just over seven minutes to play that the Hawks found themselves on the board.

But, Alexander Burrows added an empty netter in the last minute, and that was that.

Yo, Listen Up!

– Many of you probably noticed the Feather was absent for Friday night’s game.  Though we each watch the beating from Vancouver, John was married on Saturday – and, no, it wasn’t to me.  Saturday was a long day that started early, and before I knew it, I had lost my opportunity to contribute some thoughts on the game. 

It was the first time since November of ’08 that you were without post-game Feather thoughts – and it’s all John’s fault.  I’m sure he’ll apologize in due time.

– So, how about that Game 4, huh?  I spent the weekend telling people how Vancouver had to blow up the team – save for the Sedins – if they don’t get past the Hawks.  Honestly, how far can a team led by Alex Burrows go?

– Predictably, the Canucks came out Sunday night looking to, ya know, play hockey, and got back to that game plan that didn’t involve taking about ten minutes in poor penalties a night.  Luongo bailed out his subpar defensive group a handful of times, and the offense added a couple during the first period.  Nobody got cross-checked in the face, and Burrows’ only penalty was of the tripping variety.  Think their smart enough to play the same game Tuesday?  Honestly, I wouldn’t bet on it.

– Yeah, the Hawks missed a huge chance on Sunday, but hey, it’s difficult to win four straight in the playoffs.  Sure, the intensity seemed lacking most of the night, but it was Vancouver’s turn to set the tone in a game.  Queue the horrendous goal during the first minute of play, and this was one the Hawks were never quite in, the fact that the Canucks didn’t outshoot the Hawks in any one period notwithstanding.

– Many of you may remember Jordan Hendry’s strong run for the Hawks down the stretch in ’07-’08.  Hendry made the roster out of camp last year, and it’s been steadily downhill since then.  Hendry made a tough read on the ‘Nucks second goal of the night and barely played five minutes all night.

– I’m not sure I’ve really mentioned it during the playoffs, but it’s time I gave Tomas Kopecky his due.  Sure, I predicted he’d be bought out this summer while watching the Hawks’ first regular season game in Finland.  His regular season was mostly poor, but as many have pointed out, he’s been something of a different player since the Olympics.  Yes, he’s garbage along the walls, but he’s nails in the slot, and he’s absolutely willing to play in the tough areas in front of the net.  He scored major, major points in my book when, during Game 2, while standing at the top of Luongo’s crease, he took a whack at a bouncing rebound.  The replay, however, showed the puck bouncing well up into the air – above Kopecky’s head – and Kopecky two-handing Luongo in the chest.  Didn’t really know he had it in him, but he’s been fantastic all series.  And, he’s a key contributor on a line that’s played really well recently.

– That’s it; that’s all.  We won’t miss any more games.  Promise.

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16 Responses to Game 5: Canucks 4, Blackhawks 1

  1. Big Tony says:

    OI don’t think Luongo was all that great last night. We decided to not have asses in his face, to let him see. shots and to bury our best chances right in his gut. We made his life easy and I dont see it happening again.

    If aint your night when two stiffs account for all 3 goals against you. I don’t see it happening again.

    Niemi was really shaky on that first goal, something we havent seen in a while. I’m sure he will be sharp tomorrow.

    Patrick Kane…..paging Patrick Kane…..please report to GM Place and bring your goal scoring touch. Thank you for your cooperation.

  2. Otter says:

    I listened to much of the game on the radio, but it sounded like Luongo wasn’t giving up rebounds (he sure wasn’t in the first when I was watching). And that’s really been the difference in this series, when Luongo gives up a rebound, his defense (if you can call it that) is standing around doing nothing or three guys are focusing on one Hawk player down low allowing someone else to put home the easy rebound… when Niemi gives up a rebound Keith, Seabes, Hamsandwich, or Campbell and even Sopel is there to get the puck out of there.

    I think that’s what I’ve found most shocking, the Vancouver D is really really really really bad. And Canuck fans seem unable to understand this. They’re blaming the refs or something, totally ignoring the fact that their blue line is total crap. If Luongo has a good game, the Canucks can’t win.

  3. Lee says:

    Bob: first of all congratulations to John on his marriage. Now on to hockey
    Honestly I have had a bad feeling from the beginning because I never thought that Luongo was the second best goalie on the ice and he proved it yesterday. Neimi is still a rook and I dont know how far we can go with him in the nets as he has been adequate not great. What I dont understand is how we came out flat yesterday. We could very easily lose three games in a row or win in 7 as San Jose rests. I am very nervous about our chances. First thing I would do is bench Hendry and Eager too and at least bring Brouwer back and hope he is back to normal. Boynton sure cant be any worse that Hendry was ! I thought Burish was just fine!

  4. CT says:

    There were complaints about the crowd from last night, but I think there’s another aspect of the UC that was subpar last night – the ice surface.

    The ice was absolute shit yesterday and the players were clearly having problems controlling the puck. It may be that the Hawks play better in Vancouver not because of the ambience, but because of they’ve got a cleaner sheet.

  5. JimH says:

    It’s curious as to why this team seems to forget how they were successful offensively in games 2, 3, 4. Get bodies to the net and get pucks in there for the inevitable tips and rebounds.

    Hopefully Vancouver is as clueless and abandons their defensive minded gameplan in front of their home fans. They rarely forechecked and waited for the Versteegs of the world to try to skate the puck in against 5 defenders. Ironincally the one time Versteeg decides to dump it in, it’s from his own zone resulting in an icing and the first goal.

    Just a poor effort all around which I can’t understand. Was the ice poor? Toews mishandled the puck about 3 times at the start of the 2nd period on the PP. I thought a goal there would have been the start of the comeback. I’d be pissed to have to get on a plane again and fly 2,000 miles because of a lack of effort. Step your game up, boys!

  6. Nick says:

    Yeah, I don’t buy the whole “the ice was horrible” excuse. BOTH teams have to play on that surface, not just the Hawks.

    Anyway, the Hawks and Q still don’t seem to understand when a team is going to be trapping them all night. Either they don’t understand what’s happening to them, or they can’t solve it. If Van gets up by 2 or more and dedicates to playing a disciplined trap, the Hawks will not win this series. They haven’t shown that they can beat the trap.

  7. dominator says:

    Obviously the Hawks knew that the East was going to take a few more days to figure themselves out so they lost on Sunday so as not to have too much time in between games. OBVIOUSLY.

  8. Matt K says:

    No one seems to be talking about the fact that half our team was out late getting wasted at the bar (Bull & Bear) on Sat night… In a series that requires mental acuteness and a strong physical presence, battling a hangover on game day isn’t the best idea, if not borderline careless.

  9. CT says:

    Evidentally, the Vancouver press and fans are up in arms over the Hawks packing their stuff for San Jose in case they win tonight. I guess to them, this is like the ultimately slap in the face, and logistical cockiness like this cannot be forgiven. It truly is an affront to the hockey gods.

    Not unlike planning your Stanley Cup parade route in August.

  10. dominator says:

    If they lose tonight I’m sure there will be a few mouthbreathing fans howling about it too.

  11. blackhawkbob says:

    No doubt about it, guys. Apparently, the Hawks are supposed to plan to come back to Chicago either way – even in the off chance they win tonight. Any team in any sport would do the same exact thing.

  12. Nick says:

    Oooooh, that’s some bad karma there.

  13. Patrick says:

    Just win – simple as that. I expect Captain Serious to take this team (and game) by the balls.

    Hossa and Sharp are due to break through as well.

  14. Big Tony says:

    If the series comes back here for game 7, I guarantee Vancouver will pack for San Jose and not one Hawks scribe will wet themselves over it.

  15. Patrick says:

    Don’t worry – we’ve got this one. Chelsea Dagger just came up on my I-Pod (every good Blackhawks fan should have it!). I listened to it on Friday and we had good result – missed it on Sunday, and we all know what happened.

    I made sure to replay it six more times just to be sure…

  16. feyer says:

    Maybe it was Bob’s turn to get married?

    bring on those sharks! Should be a similar series with similar strategy.

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