First, let me say… I’m humbled to now be an official soldier in CanucksArmy.
Well kids, are ya nervous like me?
This is the game that will test the Canucks’ meddle. The Canucks NEED to win this game. They cannot lose two straight home games and expect to win this series. The Blackhawks are too good allow them to come back from 3-2 down and win two straight.
It will really help matters if Salo and his pulled ass are healthy enough to play. He is a calming influence on that defense, and the rest of the team just plays better when he’s in the line-up.
Let’s compare games 3 and 4. Essentially, the Blackhawks had the same stats through regulation of both games. On paper, they were very similar games statistically for Chicago. Both games, the Blackhawks had 24 shots and 1 goal through regular time. But look at the difference in how they got those shots. In Game 3, Luongo appeared to have everything under control, and the defense was very strong and controlling but calm and relaxed. In Game 4, Luongo had a much tougher time with the same number of shots and the defense seemed frenetic and slightly tentative, especially in the second half of the game.
The Canucks need to take some deep breaths between every period. Maybe they need to fire up the yoga DVD and re-align their chakras. Whatever it takes to calm them down during periods. It seems like after every period in Game 4, the defense got increasingly edgier and nervous. Maybe their eyes on the prize got the better of them, but they just didn’t have that same start-to-finish conviction that they did in Game 3.
The forwards have to be a little more willing to actually score too. They need to get more than 25 shots. They need to forecheck harder. And they need to stay on the ice for longer than 20 seconds for each shift. They need to build up come offensive pressure, because the Blackhawks defense has not responded well to that so far.
That means the Sedins HAVE to be the stars of Game 5.
If the Sedins are the stars that means they’ve played their cycle game to their Globetrottery best, have found Burrows in open space and have controlled the clock. If the Sedins can have another one of their two-minute-long “try to get the puck from me” shifts, then they’re doing exactly what they need to do, something we haven’t really seen since Game 1.
Luongo was less than three minutes away from stealing Game 4 for his Canucks. Something he tells he wants to finish the job and fully steal Game 5 in front of his fans.