Game 1 of the much anticipated series between the offensive heavy Vancouver Canucks and the supposedly equal in the Chicago Blackhawks turned out to be a one sided match to say the least.
Throughout the first period the momentum switched back and forth between both teams with fantastic goaltending by both Niemi and Luongo and some very opportunistic chances for both teams.
Then the Nuck’s struck on a perfectly executed turnover and screen via Patrick Sharp and Christian Ehrhoff potted an easy goal. Yes Sharp could not have stood up any taller to block Niemi’s vision let alone making his body into the size of a toothpick which of course is not shot blocking 101.
To make things worse the Hawks decided to have a last second defensive breakdown in the closing seconds of the first period and give the Canucks a gift of a goal with 11 seconds left in the first frame. Not to take anything away from the Western snipers as they never stopped once and kept the pressure on.
In the second intermission I bet the boys really had a good talk with coach Q to get jacked right up for the 2nd period…never happened. Instead, I might just believe Chicago had in their minds the game was over and started off with even less energy then they did in the first period. With that said, the puck was about to drop, I run to my microwave to grab my leftover hamburgers and before I could say wow these taste like crap it was 3-0 Canucks via the best line in hockey the Sedin combo.
As it sits the Hawks are 3 goals down and the Hawk nation is thinking “we waited a week long for this performance to see this”?
The most anticipated series in the NHL playoffs thus far turned into a walk for the Canucks as they kept pushing and ended up getting another goal by Kyle Wellwood a.k.a doughboy. On Wellwood’s behalf he was better then any of the Hawks tonight so kudos to him for a very good game.
OK so it’s now 4-0 and all of us Chicago fans know if we get a goal we can turn this thing around without a doubt. Right? Not a chance. Speedy and gifted Michael Grabner scored his 1st goal of the playoffs with apples going to super fighter Rick Rypien and promising young Jannik Hansen. This 4th line of the Canucks was fantastic all night and clearly outplayed not just the Hawks 4th line but any line they were up against.
In the 3rd period the Hawks were given some nice gifts from the referees and Kane ended up putting Chicago on the board on a 5 on 3 powerplay.
Remember Q’s statement way back when he said if a team scores on a 5 on 3 more then likely they will win the game, if they don’t score they more then likely will lose. Mr. Quenneville what happens if you are down 5 goals and get a 2 man advantage goal on the powerplay? You got it bud you still lose! In my opinion when Q stated that about the 2 man advantage thing it was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard and does nothing but play with the minds of players.
There are a couple positives to take from the game for Chicago believe it or not:
- the Hawks created multiple scoring chances
- outshot the Canucks 37-28
- less penalized during the game
- the anthem again was tantalizing
-Huet played the third, made 3 saves with 2 of them being very good
Ok now it’s clear I am fishing for positives as clearly there were very few of them.
Aside from the game itself being poorly executed in all aspects one of the most disappointing times of the game was when Christobal Huet was announced to start the third period and some Chicago fans decided to boo him. Cmon are there really Hawk fans out there who do that? What would be a good reason in doing that to a class act person? Ridiculous.
One would think coach Q will be juggling the lines for next game as it’s what he does after any loss. I can see rookie Bryan Bickell watching from the press box and entering Adam Burish back and a slight chance we may see Ben Eager replacing a Troy Brouwer which the latter scenario I find highly unlikely as we need offense and we will have clearly enough “bangers” out there. Dustin Byfuglien will probably move up with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Nick Boynton may step in for Jordan Hendry to add some smashmouth defense on the back end.
All Chicago fans are clearly upset and distraught with the outcome and lack of energy shown by Chicago tonight and there is no blaming them for feeling that way but please refer back to the Nashville series when we got our butts handed to us by the Preds in the first game and the Hawks came back and won the series! Many people say the Canucks are a much better team then Nashville and in some aspects they really are but this series is not over yet…not by a longshot.
If it were not for the heroics of Roberto Luongo this game could have easily gone the other way.
Fear not Hawk fans, the real Chicago Blackhawks will show up Monday for game #2.
Thanks again for reading,
About the Author
Written by Trent Kondo
An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for Prosportsblogging.com on the Blackhawks and NHLHotstove.com on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at TKONHOCKEY@gmail.com )