April 25 2011 10:33AM
Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sedins were FAR better last night.
But. It. Just. Wasn't. Enough.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game Day Review: Western Conference Quarterfinal Game 6 - Canucks @ Blackhawks
The Vancouver Canucks have backed themselves into a massive corner. A 3-0 series lead and a spot in the driver's seat has now totally evaporated. It's now down to a game 7, winner-take-all match on Tuesday.
Do they have any momentum at all after losing their third straight game against their playoff nemesis? We'll find out Tuesday.
The Vancouver Canucks were the better team Sunday. All three of Chicago's goals in regulation were essentially gifts. The first goal was started by a great play by Dave Bolland (I hate this little puke of a rat) which forced the puck to squeeze out in front of the net in a very awkward spot... where Brian Bickell just happened to be waiting and popped the puck in the net. The second goal was a boneheaded gaffe by Cory Schneider, who passed the puck directly on the stick of
total piece of hatable crap talented winger Patrick Kane (of all people!) who fed it to superrat Bolland for an empty net goal. As for third goal, it was a very good move by Frolik, but if Schneider isn't somewhat dehydrated and cramped up on that play, there's a chance he saves it. It's clearly the best of the three goals, but there was still some gift behind it.
Which leads me to my next point - the officiating. I'm not one who regularly complains about reffing. Far from it. Excuses cannot be made for losing games because of poor officiating. And the Canucks had every chance to win this game, that much is true. That said, the officiating in this game was slanted HEAVILY to the Blackhawks. The penalty shot call was one example. The Bickell hit on Bieksa was terrible, and there was no call. If you're going to compare that to Torres' hit, remember that Torres DID get penalized on that hit on Seabrook. In yesterday's game, no call. Then there was the tomahawk chop from Bolland on Henrik Sedin, snapping his stick. No call. And then there was the icing debacle in OT. The Blackhawks iced the puck, meaning they couldn't change lines and they had already used their timeout. But the refs allowed the ice crew to clean the ice, allowing the Blackhawks to rest after the icing call. Nonsense. The refs could have waited until the next whistle, but they didn't. Those are probably the most obvious examples, but there were certainly more. Again, I am not saying that those are the reasons that the Canucks lost the game. The Canucks dominated the third period and OT and didn't put the game away.
The bottom line is that the Blackhawks got some INCREDIBLY lucky bounces, the Canucks got NO bounces (they hit two posts between 3rd period and OT), and the reffing was tilted to the home team. Take out the reffing because I won't use that as an excuse to a win or loss, but if the Canucks get ONE lucky bounce... OR one of the Blackhawks gift goals doesn't go in, and the Canucks win the game.
The Sedins were much better, despite some dubious stats. Bieksa was great. Burrows was fantastic. AV did make some great moves, especially putting Kesler and Burrows together.
I have only one suggestion for Alain Vigneault for game 7. GET RAFFI TORRES OUT OF THE LINEUP. The Canucks have been terrible in the playoffs with him on the roster. They're 1-3 and since he hit Seabrook, the Blackhawks have used that as a rallying point. Get him off the ice against the Blackhawks. PERIOD.
Other than getting Torres the hell out of the lineup, Canucks fans simply ask for more of the same at home in Game 7. I have lost all sense of knowing what could happen in the deciding game. There's no point. If they win, they win and move on. If they lose, they're out and will likely be regarded as the worst collapse in Noth American sports history. At this point, after being a Canucks fan for 30 years, I would really see it poetically happening either way.
Three Big Stats
Here are my top 3 stats from last night's game:
1. The Canucks threw 85 shots toward the net last night. 35 SOG, 31 blocked shots, 19 missed net. They had far more pressure on the Blackhawks net than vice-versa evidenced by the fact that the Blackhawks had only 54 shots towards the net.
2. -4 combined for Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Sedin, who were both on the ice for three of the Blackhawks four goals. This could be chalked up to simple math because of the fact that Henrik and Christian played more last night than either had in the previous five games.
3. 4:17 - The amount of time the Canucks were shorthanded in the 2nd period. The Canucks were up 2-1 going into the middle frame, had a late goal in the first to snatch away the momentum. But a string of penalties zapped away a chance for the Canucks to build off that momentum and get a two-goal lead. Instead, the Blackhawks controlled the 2nd period and eventually tied the game.
Three Big Moments
Here are my top 3 moments from last night's game:
1. Ben Smith OT goal. Luongo makes a weird save to stop the initial shot, likely because it deflected. As a result, Luongo ends up flopped on his belly, and Smith slotted home the rebound to win the game.
2. Kevin Bieksa's 3-2 goal. A terrific play from the defense, one pass out of the zone to Raymond who bolts down the wing, while Bieksa follows up on the rebound by charging straight to the net.
3. Michael Frolik penalty shot. At first I thought that Hamhuis had played the puck, but you can see pretty clearly that Hamhuis dives, first knocking out Frolik's feet, then the puck. Frolik's move was nice, but it was made to look at the more dramatic with Schneider's huge leg cramp after stretching awkwardly to try to make the save.