Game 6: Blackhawks 5, Canucks 1

Thank you, Vancouver, for answering the age-old question: What happens when fans wish to express their displeasure for a player they “boo” during the good times, like Roberto Luuuuuongo? You cheer him, of course, making sure the cheers come off as jeers. Nicely done.

Such is life for the Canucks who dropped their second second-round series to the Blackhawks in as many years; this time losing all three games played at their home rink.

It wasn’t quite as bad as the 5-1 score would suggest, though. The two teams traded fantastic scoring chances during a fast-paced first period, but no one was able to crack either Luongo or Antti Niemi. Luongo made notable saves on Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien, while Niemi came up big on a couple scrambles around his crease.

The second period separated the men from the boys, however, as it took the Hawks only the first two-and-a-half minutes to open up a two-goal lead. The first tally came compliments of Troy Brouwer who fled to the net on a 2-on-2 with Patrick Sharp. Sharp, going wide, tossed the puck to the middle where a streaking Brouwer redirected it up and over Luongo. Then, just 36 seconds later, after Kevin Bieksa inexcusable overskated the puck in the neutral zone, Kris Versteeg gathered it and found himself in on a 2-on-1 with Andrew Ladd. Versteeg, though, has watched enough Blackhawk hockey this year to know that when one has a 2-on-1 with Ladd, you shoot it. Versteeg cut to the middle of the ice, leaving Luongo on the short side, and stuffed it into the gaping net for a two-goal lead.

Even after holding the Canucks to one shot through half the period, the real turning point came in the last minute of the frame. With the Hawks nurturing that fragile two-goal lead, Niemi gloved and played a puck he had no business playing; Keith was forced to take a slashing penalty which left the Hawks shorthanded during a pivotal moment. But, rather than allowing the ‘Nucks to cut the lead in half going into the second intermission, Dave Bolland blocked a point shot and went in alone on Luongo the other way. Bolland beat Luongo with a wrister, and the Hawks had themselves a three-goal lead.

The ‘Nucks had plenty of fight left in them, though. They predictably came out of the gate firing, and Shane O’Brien found himself on top of the circle alone on a break. His wrister beat Niemi, and cut the lead to two.

But, the Hawks wouldn’t be upstaged on this night. Goals from Patrick Kane and Byfuglien just 15 seconds apart midway through the third separated the two teams to the extent the last ten minutes were an affront to playoff hockey.

More thoughts to come either later today or tomorrow morning.  I have plenty of them.

Bring on the Sha-arks.

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13 Responses to Game 6: Blackhawks 5, Canucks 1

  1. Lou says:

    I wonder if Kessler thinks we are tough enough now…

  2. Big Tony says:

    To me, the beauty of the goals was how they were scored. The first one quieted the crowd, but the second one really planted the seed of “Uh-oh” in all of Canuckland. That was big. Then they get the power play and think “Okay, score one and we’re back in it”. Instead, Bolland scores his biggest goal ever and we go onto the 3rd up by 3.

    Now we all know Vancouver NEEDS to score in the first 5 minutes to have a chance and they do, re-igniting Canuckland’s faint hopes. Instead, it was public enemies 1 and 1A who hammer in the last two nails faster than one of those sweet Bosch air-hammers. Game, set, series.

    I think I felt best for Troy Brouwer, whose family issue has become much more known lately. Good for him for staying focused after that penalty and getting us going. Props, big guy.

    I’m pretty up about starting on the road. Hopefully the Sharks are a bit rusty for game 1 and we can take advantage.

  3. CT says:

    Vancouver should probably start worrying about the fact that they’ve signed Luongo to a 12 year extension, and he just gave up 3 softies in the biggest playoff game of his life.

    Seriously, the Bolland goal was ridiculous, and while the Kane and Byfuglien goals were partially the result of the Vancouver D being overagressive (which they had to be at that point), neither Kane nor Buff did anything spectacular to beat the great LOU!.

  4. AC says:

    Well, that was certainly the game most Hawks fans were waiting for. We finally played up to our talent level and I really felt like we should’ve scored a few more goals, but that Luongo was outstanding in the first period and change. You could see Luongo’s confidence go with the first two goals, to the point where he just stopped playing his game and shrunk into the net, making himself smaller.

    Onto the Sharks and what should be a more wide-open series. Hopefully we can shut their first line down, like we did the Children of the Corn (Sedins).

  5. Big Tony says:

    I’d hardly call any of the Hawks goals soft. Stoppable? Possibly, but I wouldn’t term them soft. They were 3 lasers, a sweet re-direct and Bolland’s wrister from in tight.

    I agree about Red Light Roberta’s albatross contract. He makes Alfonso Soriano’s deal look good in comparison.

  6. mistercheezle says:

    I thought the Kane goal was pretty sick–mid stride he kicks the puck up to his stick with his back leg (reminded me of hackey-sack) and then sticks it 5-hole. The best part of that goal was seeing BobbyLu collapse to his knees and then put his head on the ice. One can only assume he shed a single tear…knowing he likely just killed whatever chance the Canucks had.

  7. Otter says:

    CT, totally agree about the Bolland goal… not sure how that went in or how Luongo let that one get by him. The Buff goal was pretty weak also. I’ll give him a pass on Kane’s goal though.

    Vancouver’s D was pretty piss poor the entire series and there’s almost no way the Sharks play nearly as poorly on the blue line as the ‘Nucks did. But the Hawks are also going up against Nabokov… should be interesting. My knee jerk is Hawks in six.

  8. Otter says:

    Big Tony… if Luongo’s contract is not as bad as Soriano’s, what does that make Rick DiPietro’s contract?

  9. Big Tony says:

    Otter, even my sarcastically delicious wit can’t process that one.

  10. CT says:

    Bolland’s goal was inexcusable. Bolland made no move, came in straight ahead and got very little on the shot. It went right through Luongo. Given the circumstances and the score, that goal HAD to be saved.

  11. Big Tony says:

    True enough I suppose. You know that Red Light Roberta’s sphincter got ubertight when Bolland broke free.

    Ok…call that one soft.

  12. illinikc33 says:

    Agreed re: Bolland goal.

    Kane’s, though, was a thing of beauty. All series (and, indeed, all season) Kaner has aimed for the top corner on nearly every shot. Luongo was waiting for it, and Kane slips the puck along the ice through the 5-hole . . . beautiful goal.

  13. JimH says:

    Buff was a one man wrecking crew last night. That hit on Edler was clean and he just blew him up. Whenever Buff was on the ice you saw Canucks looking over their shoulder as they were heading towards the boards. He was in their heads bigtime. I know he coasts at times (some will say he coast for weeks or months at a time), but I’d hate to face a fired up Buff in the post season. He can play forward or D, is immovable in front of the net, and seems to relish the role of villian on the road where he took lot of cheap shots without retaliating. Obviously we need him to be more consistent on an effort basis and smarter emotionally, but his skill/size combo is pretty hard to find. Hell, if he just shows up for the playoffs that’s enough. If he played to his capabilities all season long the Hawks won’t be able to afford him after next year.

    After watching the first 5 minutes I told my daughter the Hawks were energized and would win this game. If they can maintain that effort in 75% of the rest of the playoffs they will win the Cup.

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