For the Canucks, it was time to put up or shut up. Getting knocked out by the Blackhawks in two consecutive postseasons was bad enough; getting knocked out a third time would be inexcusable.
The Canucks started the game as well as they could have. They chanelled their energy and emotions, and unlike in previous postseasons, maintained their composure and dictated the pace of the game. Only 10 minutes into the game, the boys in blue had built their 2-0 lead.
And as Mike Milbury pointed out during one of the intermissions, the Canucks looked very much in control and Chicago looked intimidated.
Roberto Luongo. After a relatively-quiet first period, Lui held off the Blackhawks’ push in the second and third periods, thanked his posts (four times), and finished with 32 saves altogether. The shutout was only his second career shutout in the playoffs.
Michael Frolik. I actually forgot he played for the Hawks. Despite logging 18:18 minutes of ice-time – fourth most among all Chicago forwards – he was pretty ineffective and mostly invisible. I didn’t notice him, well, except for when Alex Edler bowled him over late in the third period.
22:31. That’s how much ice-time Dan Hamhuis logged to lead all Canucks skaters. Five Hawks – Duncan Keith (27:30), Brian Campbell (26:11), Patrick Kane (23:58), Brent Seabrook (23:39) and Jonathan Toews (23:17) – had more. While the Canucks were able to roll through all their forward lines and defense pairings, Chicago obviously relied on their big guns quite heavily. If this continues, there’s no doubt the Canucks’ depth (or the Hawks’ lack of it) will eventually have an impact and wear down the Hawks.
The Next Time
It’s easy to get excited and carried away, but I can’t help but remember the Canucks won game 1 of their series against the Hawks last year and the year before. As good as they were tonight, can they carry their play to Friday?