The Canucks that swept the Blues last year are not the same Canucks that won 4-2 over the Kings in this year’s Western Conference Quarterfinal against the LA Kings. There’s one resounding difference and it revolves around their mentality and mindset coming out of that series and heading into the next one. The mood of the team seems vastly different and they know that his is just the first four wins of a potential sixteen. The big thing is they’re celebrating without getting carried away.
This year’s Canucks weren’t euphoric about their first round win. Granted the Kings put up a bigger fight, the Canucks know what it felt like last year and you can tell by the way they conduct themselves around the subject, they’re looking forward to the next rounds and dwelling little on their victories until they’ve won them all. It ties in with the Canucks composure that’s lead to their confidence in third periods and it’s something that changes their second meeting in as many years in the second round, with the Blackhawks.
The Canucks were horribly out played last year and the Blackhawks turned out to be the better team. This year, it’s going to be a much closer affair. Luongo would love nothing more than to triumph over Kane for the second time in just over two months and over half of this year’s team was there last year when the Canucks lost to the Hawks. They know what it feels like.
Mindset is the key to this series for the Canucks, if they can keep their composure whether they’re up or down in the series and take things one game at a time they’re going to push the Blackhawks to the limits. While the Canucks goaltending is vastly superior to the Blackhawks’ their speed is something the Canucks are going to have to try and match. Both sides have their strengths and weaknesses, but one thing’s for sure: This year’s different, this year it’s personal.