Alas, the Chicago Blackhawks managed to take out their arch rival Vancouver Canucks in a wide open hockey game outscoring them 5-1. It was hard to imagine the first period ending with no score as the Canucks and Hawks had multiple scoring chances with Luongo and Niemi coming up with some fantastic saves.
The second period began, with fans from both sides still nervous awaiting for something to happen then Chicago opened up the scoring on a nifty 2 on 1 with Brouwer tipping in a beauty high past Luongo. Shortly after that, 36 seconds to be exact, Kris Versteeg flew down and snapped one by Luongo making it 2-0 therefore putting the Canucks fans into complete shock and utter disbelief as in the prior period Bobby Lou was solid and looked somewhat unbeatable. Things were looking up for Vancouver as they turned things around and began an onslaught of their own eventually getting a powerplay opportunity on a slash via Duncan Keith. However, Dave Bolland made a heroic effort on the Hawks blueline blocking a pass and skated the puck all the way down with pressure on him during this time and managed to get a greasy goal by Luongo who most definitely should have stopped that shot. 3-0 Hawks after 2 periods.
The third period started off in the Canucks favor again as they were all over Chicago in the early stages and eventually the unlikely candidate in Shane O’Brien scored somewhat of a softy past Antti Niemi making it 3-1. Hawk fans I’m sure started to panic at this point while Canuck fans had a glimmer of hope considering the goal came with a ton of time remaining in the 3rd frame. Patrick Kane eventually gave the Hawks some more breathing room scoring at the 8:17 mark of the third giving Chicago a healthy 4-1 lead and to put the nail in the coffin and add a bit more salt to the wounds big Dustin Byfuglien added the 5th goal making it 5-1 to solidify the series win for the Chicago Blackhawks.
My good buddy John Jaeckel over at Hockeybuzz tweeted this to me after the 1st period “I like how the Hawks are getting the puck deep and competing, it will pay dividends” Needless to say he was spot on with that.
Chicago really stepped their game up in game 6 which was a big concern if they could do so among the majority of Hawks fan.
After the Hawks laid an egg in game 5 and Vancouver looked unbeatable it looked like the Canucks had the momentum going into game 6 but that was not the case. Chicago played extremely physical and very disciplined controlling the majority of the game play with fantastic puck possession. Vancouver also was disciplined throughout until Mikael Samuelsson took out some frustration in the latter stages of the game when the score was out of reach amassing 14 minutes in penalties.
Vancouver’s depleted blue line definitely hurt them.
In what I thought was a terrible decision by coach Alain Vigneault in dressing Sami Salo for this game after his devastating injury in game #5 most definitely hurt the Canucks on the back end. One could see how Salo was in pain and he looked almost sickly especially during the interview by CBC during the 1st intermission, he was immobile and ineffective throughout the game but hats off to him for being a warrior and at least giving an effort. To make things worse for the Canucks Alexander Edler, arguably the Canucks best d-man this series, received a crunching hit from Dustin Byfuglien sending Edler to the dressing room with an ankle injury.
Joel Quenneville deserves some praise after 2 rounds of the playoffs.
Coach Q has been taking some slack as usual for some of his decision making by all of the “expert outsiders”. How much criticism can we throw at a guy who out coached mastermind Barry Trotz of Nashville and Alain Vigneault respectively? Quenneville found a way to get around the defensive minded Predators and then facing a completely different style of team in the Canucks who are very comparable in skill set with the Hawks.
Dustin Byfuglien was the key factor in this series without a doubt.
Big Buff was held pointless in the Nashville series but he played solid defense in that series. The Vancouver series was a different story as he clearly got under the skin of Roberto Luongo and the entire Canucks roster with some punishing hits, crowding the crease, making confident (some call cocky) comments to the media and a hat trick to boot. The Canucks had no answer for Buff which paid off huge dividends in a series won by Chicago.
The San Jose Sharks will be more a difficult series then the Nashville and Vancouver series…or will it?
We have seen a defensive style team in the Predators and a skilled offensive team in Vancouver, so what can San Jose possibly bring that is any different from that? Not a lot. San Jose has one of the top lines in Thornton/Heatley/Marleau and a Joe Pavelski who is absolutely on fire to go along with superstar defenseman in Dan Boyle this Sharks team brings a lot of similarities that Vancouver did.
In regards to Pavelski, yes he is outstanding right now but so was Mikael Samuelsson for the Canucks prior to this series and Chicago managed shut him down along with the Sedin line. The Hawks will need to do the same thing against the San Jose Sharks, be physical, create traffic, use their huge advantage in speed, don’t be too fancy and get some shots on net and start hacking plus solid discipline and I like the Hawks chances in this one.
Over the regular season the Hawks basically owned the Sharks and feasted on goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, of course this is a new season with it being the playoffs but the Hawks managed to score a bunch of goals past goalies Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo odds are they can do the same thing against Nabokov.
In ending, the Hawks have a long way to go to get to the promised land but they are on the right path needing 8 wins out of a possible 14 games but for now let’s concentrate on getting 4 from the boys in Teal from Cali.
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 )