Things aren’t looking good for the Chicago Blackhawks but the defending Stanley Cup champs still have hope. They are now down 2-0 to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs, a situation they have not been in against the Canucks in several years. It’s not too surprising, considering that they are hardly the star-powered team they were last year, having lost their core contributors to trades in the off-season. The team knew that sneaking into the playoffs to play the President’s Trophy-winning team was not going to be an easy challenge, but the Game 1 seemed to have disheartened the Hawks within the first two periods of play. Game 2 was better; the Canucks only took the victory with a 1 goal lead as opposed to Game 1′s shutout courtesy of Roberto Luongo.
Despite the improvement in the Blackhawks’ game, the team still has a lot of work to do to keep themselves in the running for Lord Stanley. So far, the series has seen no points from Chicago’s top players of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. But Hossa knows what has to be done, acknowledging that though it was impressive that his team did manage to put 3 pucks past Luongo in Game 2, “We have to do it even more often [than we did tonight].”
A key determinant in the Canucks’ domination of the Hawks is the force the Canadian team brought with them from the very beginning of each game. Bone-crushing hits dealt by Canucks defencemen established the flow of the games early and weakened the Hawks’ momentum.
Perhaps returning to home ice will give the Blackhawks a confidence boost, as well as a chance to refamiliarize themselves with the type of play that got them to the Cup last season.
Unlike some of the other teams battling for a chance at the Cup, the Blackhawks have more than one problem to solve in Roberto Luongo. All four of the Canucks lines have combined to produce a team that is going to be near-impossible to beat, yet stranger things have happened.
The Blackhawks know what is expected of them in order to even out this series, and you can be sure they’ll be willing to do anything to get it done.
About the Author
Written by Anna Santiago
26-year old sports writer from Calgary, Alberta. A hockey and basketball lover above all.