And so it continues.
The Blackhawks scored early and often. They made it look easy through the first 20 minutes and continued it into the next frame to close out the Canucks before the game was even 35 minutes old. Duncan Keith scored twice (that’s now 4 goals for him in the last three games. Everyone who was trading him off on Sunday for a truck of Tropical Chewy Lemonheads and Hot Tamales are suddenly re-thinking their offer), Marian Hossa scored twice to make his first appearance of the series, and Patrick Kane tipped a Duncan Keith point shot to close out the Hawks scoring.
Roberto Luongo didn’t make it out of the second period this time. He got the hook after Marian Hossa beat him to the glove side on a breakaway to give the Hawks a 4-0 lead.
So now the Hawks face another must-win in Chicago on Easter Sunday. Don’t stop now, boys.
He Bowls Overhand
–Alain Vigneault is stuck between a rock and a hard place right now with his delicate goalie situation. Cory Schneider had a terrific year for the Canucks. Roberto Luongo, his no-doubt franchise goalie, has been unable to finish the last two games and was particularly bad tonight. I would, along with the rest of the hockey world, be stunned if he went to Schneider in Game 6 but I can’t imagine he’s feeling particularly confident with Luongo. Another subpar performance from Luongo on Sunday and the calls for Schneider will only get louder. And then Vigneault would really have a headache on his hand.
All that being said, I anticipate the Hawks facing Luongo’s best in Game 6 and it’s going to take their best effort yet to extend this series to the maximum.
–Another game, another headshot from the Canucks. This time, Alexander Edler, who is most certainly not anything resembling a young Nik Lidstrom, gave the People’s Elbow to Troy Brouwer behind the Canuck net. Somehow, Edler didn’t receive a penalty even though Brouwer’s head snapped back and the referee was just a few feet away. Instead, Brouwer was called for slashing. Good thing Bieksa was there to even things up otherwise the Hawks would have opened the third short-handed and Joel Quenneville would have been fully entitled to call that one of the worst calls in history.
–I’m not sure if Duncan Keith was motivated by Drew Doughty’s Game 2 where he accounted for all of Los Angeles goals but Keith’s game has elevated since Doughty’s Saturday night. Keith was simply outstanding tonight. Even better with the last two blowout wins, the Hawks have been able to keep his minutes under control.
–If the odds were in Marian Hossa’s favor to find the scoresheet eventually, then it’s Jonathan Toews’ turn in Game 6. Toews has yet to score this series. You would have to think he’s going to be heard from before this thing is over.
–The difference between the Hawks play when they’re able to roll four lines as opposed to playing two and mish-moshing the bottom two is simply striking.
–This game couldn’t have started better for Vancouver. They got a power play before the game was 30 seconds old, the crowd was into it, and they had their pick of the match-up. The Hawks killed it with much thanks going to Niklas Hjalmarsson making a huge stop on a cross-crease pass that would have very well ended up in the Hawks net. That’s how you anticipate a pass, something that was missing from his game for the majority of this season.
–If we use this season as our barometer, I can’t decide which scenario would be more apropo for the 2010-2011 Chicago Blackhawks: wetting the bed at home in Game 6 or extending the series to seven only to lose.