"Brah, thanks for saving our bacon out there tonight.’
"No worries, Brah. Thanks for scoring the winning goal."
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game Day Review: Western Conference Quarterfinal Game 3 – Canucks @ Blackhawks
The Vancouver Canucks have spent all year doing things first and best. And they did it again. They are now the first team in this post-season to get to three wins. It is the first time in three post-seasons that the Canucks have won three games against the Chicago Blackhawks. And while they were not the best team on the ice last night, they sure as hell had the best goalie on the night.
For someone who has had considerable luck in playoffs past against Roberto Luongo, Patrick Kane is getting his goal-scoring ass handed to him by the Canucks netminder. Luongo is coming big and proving his doubters wrong. And most of those doubters are playing in red, white and black jerseys. The fact is that Luongo is one win away from getting a gigantic orangutan off his back and moving on.
Luongo had to be in top form last night, as unfortunately the team in front of him had a case of stupidfuckingpenaltyitis, and the lineup starts behind Raffi Torres. Torres returned from a four-game suspension to find himself in hot water again, after a brutal hit to the head on Brent Seabrook behind the Blackhawks’ net. He was incredibly lucky to only get a minor penalty, but much of the talk after the game was the length of a potential suspension. While Torres was easily the stupidest Canuck on the evening, he certainly wasn’t the only player to take a dumb penalty. The Canucks found themselves shorthanded 7 times last night, and it’s hard to argue against any of the penalties they took. Conversely the Blackhawks were shorthanded only twice last night.
The big story of last night, after Luongo and Torres’ stupidity was the 5-on-5 game. The Canucks dominated the game at even-strength, outscoring the Blackhawks 2-0 while essentially being tied in shots (23-22 in favour of the Blackhawks). A lot of that must be attributed to the Sedins, once again dominating on the ice and on the scoresheet. Daniel figured in on all three Canucks goals, while Henrik had 2 assists. Once the Canucks calmed down their nonsense after the first period (they were shorthanded 4 times in the opening frame), the Sedins started to exert their force on the game when more of them game was played at even strength.
The Sedins have now combined for 9 points in 3 games. The Sedins had 9 combined points for the entire series against the Blackhawks last year. Yes, this year is different. And the Canucks, the Sedins, and Roberto Luongo have proven for the past three games.
Three Big Stats
Here are my top 3 stats from last night’s game:
1.1 Goal. 1 combined goal for the Blackhawks’ top 4 forwards of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. Sharp had the lone marker among the top 4 last night. In fact, that’s the only goal that those same 4 forwards have scored in the entire series.
2. 45%. The Canucks faceoff percentage. If there is one flaw in the Canucks game right now, it’s their faceoff abilities in this series. The Canucks were 4/9 on shorthanded faceoffs, and a faceoff loss was a key factor in Keith’s PPG to open the scoring.
3. 16-16. Those were the combined shot totals for the 2nd and 3rd periods for both teams. In other words, even those the Canucks were outshot, in the final 40 minutes, the shots were dead even, yet the Canucks outscored the Blackhawks 3-1 in those two periods.
Three Big Moments
Here are my top 3 moments from last night’s game:
1. Raffi Torres’ controversial hit on Brent Seabrook. For the record, it was an elbow to the head, and I believe Raffi should be suspended. It wasn’t necessarily blindside or anything egregious like that, but Torres contacted his head.
***BREAKING NEWS*** – Raffi Torres will not face further discipline for his hit on Brent Seabrook.
2. Mikael Samuelsson’s game winning goal midway through the third period. Returning from illness after missing game 2, Samuelsson had a big game with 1G, +2, 2 SOG, 2 blocks and 15:14 TOI
3. Roberto Luongo ROBS Patrick Kane. As mentioned before, Kane has been held goalless in the series so far, and this might have been the biggest save of the series to date.