Billed as a possible playoff preview in terms of emotion the game certainly did not disappoint. The Canucks came into Chicago looking to draw the season series even at two games a piece and send the Blackhawks a message. The message that “we are not the team we were” came through loud and clear delivered by the Nucks who were down right stifiling on defense allowing only two good chance to score: the first a partial breakaway to Havlat, the second a ridiculous dangle by Jonathan Toews. But of course even if you create the chance you still have the task of beating Roberto Luongo and tonight the Hawks could not solve him.
Somehow the Canucks have changed, they seem like a team built for the playoffs, their goaltending was great but they offered very few chances and little room for the Hawks to breath. But what stood out the most was their passing: the Sedin line was unstoppable, the Nucks created three goals from terrific puck movement with the second and third goals standing out as highlight level.
The silver lining for the Blackhawks and their fans is that this game was close through two periods in terms of the score and play and would have undoubtedly been a very different game had Havlat buried his breakaway chance.
If this is to be our first round playoff matchup then I would prefer that the series start in Vancouver away from the pressure and expectation of Chicago, I know it may sound strange but remember that both this seasons long winning streaks started on the road.
The Byfuglien Play
The play by Dustin incited a small melee and it was a “cheap” play and as a purest usually I hate this type of thing but let's face it the Blackhawks are in a rut and Dustin Byfuglien is the biggest guy on the ice most nights and has the aggression of a Sedin. (usually)
So to see him play pissed off even for a minute and for the Blackhawks to get that “fire” and seeing Joel Quenneville hollering down the line to the next bench… maybe just what this team needs.
And if it took a small cheap shot in the form of a face punch to Luongo to bring out a real competitveness and fire from within this team it's worth it
About the Author
Written by Terry Shilton