It’s hard to sum up an entire season in one post, so rest assured that Richard, Alix and I will do our best to offer our thoughts in a series of them over the next few days.
I was optimistic this morning because I sincerely thought the Canucks had what it took to compete with the Blackhawks and force a Game 7. I was optimistic because, in this biggest game of the series (heck, the biggest game of the season), I expected Roberto Luongo to be at his best. The Canucks competed alright and they did a lot of good things. I didn’t, for one second, expect them to lose or for Lui to let in seven goals (including four in the pivotal third period) in the process.
This post isn’t to lay blame on Lui solely for the loss, though surely there will be many questions about that in the next little while. (I thought at least three of the Hawks’ goals were a direct result of bad plays and poor defensive coverage, and another one was off a defender’s skate, but again that’s a discussion for another day.) In this post, I just want to first give credit where credit is due – and the Blackhawks deserve credit for being the better team in this series.
The Blackhawks had a response for everything the Canucks threw at them. Believe it or not, they actually trailed the Canucks at some point in every single game in this series, and with the exception of Game 3, they came back every time. They were tough and resilient as they were fast and skilled. They beat the Canucks on even-strength and on the powerplay. They beat the trap and played the run-and-gun when it suited them. As much as we said that this was as complete a Canucks team as we’ve ever seen, Chicago played that much more of a complete game. It hurts to admit it, but really, they deserve full marks for moving on to the Western Conference Final.
So congratulations Chicago. Good luck in the next round and Go Wings Go.