The Goods: Canucks down in 6
Another post-season, another loss to the Blackhawks.
You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 5-1 loss to Chicago in Game 6 of their Western Conference Semifinal.
IT WAS OVER WHEN...
…On a Vancouver power play late in the second period, Dave Bolland stole the puck from Pavol Demitra at Chicago’s blueline and skated in alone on Roberto Luongo before trickling a shot past the Canucks keeper. The shorthanded goal put the visitors up 3-0 in a 5-1 series ending win.
It was anyone’s guess as to which team was going to take the bull by the horns in the first period and both came out with their best, filling the opening 20 minutes with end-to-end hockey. Luongo turned aside 12 shots, half of which required super-human saves, but the Canucks couldn’t find the back of the net themselves.
The most significant event of the first frame was a Dustin Byfuglien hit on Alex Edler deep in the Vancouver zone that put the blueliner on the shelf for the rest of the game.
Edler’s presence was missed just two minutes into the second and again 36 second later following back-to-back goals from Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg. The only bright spot in the period was a late power play, but instead of cutting into the deficit, the Canucks surrendered a shorthanded marker to Bolland.
Vancouver pressed hard to open the final stanza and it paid off 3:44 in when Shane O’Brien eerily scored his second career playoff goal (his first came last May 11 in a Game 6 loss to the Blackhawks), but just when optimism and cheers were reigning at GM Place, Patrick Kane provided the dagger with a breakaway goal.
Byfuglien put the exclamation point on a tough loss to swallow for the Canucks with a goal 25 seconds later.
Vancouver hasn’t won a Game 6 at home since 1994 going 0-4 in its last four attempts.
It’s tough to single out one Canuck who deserves the distinction as no one was at their best, but the defence as a whole stepped up its game in a big way.
Already feeling the affects of Sami Salo playing injured, the blueline was crippled when late in the first period Alex Edler was lost to a right ankle injury.
Although the Canucks overcame a five-man squad in Game 5, it was too much on this night with the Blackhawks able to get to the net and set up shop in front of Luongo on many occasions.
Overall the unit had chipped in offensively with Shane O’Brien breaking Niemi’s shutout bid, in addition to 12 shots, 10 hits and six blocked shots.
No one had Sami Salo penned in for Game 6. Not even Salo.
After taking a shot in the pills in Game 5, Salo was questionable at best coming into the game, so much so that Lawrence Nycholat, he of zero NHL playoff games, took the pre-game warm-up.
Salo played and Salo played well, albeit gingerly. Under the circumstances, that was acceptable. Salo had three shots and blocked shot with a minus-1 rating in 19:32 of ice time.
Midway through the first period the fans showed Salo some love with a Balls of Steel chant.
THEY SHOOT, THEY WIN
The Blackhawks found success in outshooting the Canucks in this series, they did so every game and 205 to 171 overall.
Coming into Game 6 Chicago was holding its opponents to a Western Conference low 27.2 shots per game in the post-season. Vancouver bested that with 30 in a losing cause.
Although the Canucks were the first team to outshoot the Blackhawks in the regular season and the team that held them to their season-low of 17, they were unable to temper the Hawks attack throughout the playoffs and that spelled doom with the visitors 7-3 when getting more pucks on goal.
Chicago outshot its opposition an NHL-high 70 times in the regular season, compiling a 44-19-7 record.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Canucks sported the best regular season home record with a franchise high 30-8-3 showing at GM Place, but winning at home against the Blackhawks proved impossible.
Vancouver went 0-3 to Chicago giving up 17 goals to seven for through games 3, 4 and 6; that’s a difficult stat to read for both the players and diehard fans who gave rallying the team their best when it needed it most in the third period.
Scoring late in games was also a problem area for the Canucks as they were outscored 2-1 in the third period of Game 6 and 11-3 overall.
FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Roberto Luongo on the loss, the turning point in the series and what happened in the second period after a hot start for the Canucks:
”It’s disappointing obviously, I don’t know how come they come in here and beat us like that. It’s disappointing again to be out against these guys.
”They made some adjustments after the first game and we couldn’t respond. It was 3-1 and we tried to battle back last game and get a big win, but at the end of the day I don’t think they’re a better team than us, but maybe a smarter team that knows how to win.
”I don’t know, just breakdowns. I was able to make some saves in the first then they scored the first one on a re-direct into the top portion of the net and I’m not even sure how much longer later they get a 2-on-1 and they score again. It was 2-0 and unfortunately that goal I let in in the second period really hurt us.”
That’s all she wrote for the 2009-10 edition of the Vancouver Canucks.
It was an exciting season, but ultimately one that won’t be remembered fondly by the team after a second consecutive playoff ousting at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks exactly 365 days after last year’s series loss.
4-2 Chicago, Blackhawks advance to Round 3 vs. Sharks
1 – Goal for Shane O'Brien, his second Game 6 score vs. the Blackhawks in as many years.
3 – Third period goals for the Canucks in the series (outscored 11-3 overall).
4 – Consecutive Game 6 losses on home ice for Vancouver.
17 – Goals given up by the Canucks at home (outscored 17-7 at GMP in series).
30 – Saves by Roberto Luongo.
“I’m going to leave tonight with my head up, unlike last year. I battled for 60 minutes and kept it under seven goals so an improvement was made."
-Roberto Luongo (on the loss)
“It’s certainly hard. You prepare all year to face them again and they certainly proved that they were better than us again. It's disappointing."
-Kyle Wellwood (on the loss)
“It was a gutsy effort for Sami obviously before the game you could tell he wasn’t 100 per cent and only he knows how much pain he was really in. "
-Shane O'Brien (on Salo playing)
“I think he kind of stepped on my skate or fell on my leg and it twisted a little bit. "
-Alex Edler (on his injury)
There wasn't much in the way of scoring chances for the Canucks following an explosive first period. After Niemi shut the door early, Vancouver lost its swagger.
Vancouver was outshot by Chicago for the sixth straight game, this time 35-30.
Losing Alex Edler from an already depleted and injured Canucks blueline hurt, there's no question about that.
Roberto Luongo was there for his team in the first period, in a big way, but he couldn't come up with the saves needed down the stretch.
Both teams were 0-for-2 on the man advantage.