I was pissed off after game 5′s no-show. I’ll admit last night’s loss hurt.
The Canucks played a good game. Scratch that, they played their best game of the series. They took the game to the Hawks and had three, separate, 1-goal leads.
Cory Schneider was a surprise starter (more on that in a separate post) and was mostly solid, especially on an extended 5-on-3 Chicago powerplay. At least he was until his legs cramped up after failing to stop Michael Frolik on a penalty shot, forcing Roberto Luongo to enter the game.
Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Mason Raymond were reunited. They played mostly against Jonathan Toews’ line, held him to 0 points and minus-2 rating, and combined for 4 points themselves.
Kevin Bieksa played a monster game and finished with more than 36 minutes of ice-time.
But that’s probably what hurt the most about this loss. Unlike games 4 and 5, there was no doubt the Canucks were the better team. With some puck luck, they could have closed this series. Instead, they head home to game 7, where anything can happen.
Corey Crawford. Shook off a shaky start and stopped 30 of the last 31 shots he faced.
The Sedins. Yes, the twins had some good shifts, opened the scoring and generated their fair share of scoring chances, but they also haven’t been able to stop Dave Bolland and his line. And in fact, Bolland, in half has as many games, is only one point back of Daniel and has one point more than Henrik.
- 14:55. Andrew Alberts’ ice-time in his first game since Valentine’s Day, almost 22 minutes less than Kevin Bieksa’s. What’s wrong with Keith Ballard?
- 0:59. John Scott’s total ice-time in his 3 first-period shifts.
- 19. Ryan Kesler has gone 19 playoff games since last beating a goaltender (Nikolai Khabibulin in game 5 of the Canucks/Blackhawks series in 2009). He scored one goal last year against the LA Kings, but it was an empty-netter.
The Next Time
If the Canucks do the unthinkable and blow this series on Tuesday, it will be the first time in NHL history that a team will lose a first-round series after holding a 3-0 series lead. That combined with the fact that the Canucks entered the series as the no. 1 seed, the President’s Trophy winners, finishing 20 points ahead of the no. 8 seed Blackhawks will more than cement it as the biggest collapse in league history.
That said, we should all be comforted with how the Canucks played in game 6. After all, they did everything but win. If they can repeat their effort in game 7, you have to think that some of the bounces – and some of the calls – will eventually go their way.
At least we all hope so.