Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recap: Canucks 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT) least it wasn't Matt Cooke that scored twice, right?
The scoring got started early in the first, as Ryan Kesler went inside-out on Duncan Keith, lowered the shoulder, and went to the net, shoveling a pass to Alexandre Burrows, who beat Corey Crawford. Chicago was able to apply some good pressure through the rest of the first, but an ineffective power play (on which Vancouver generated three shots, Chicago none) helped turn the tide back in favor of Vancouver. The Canucks dominated the second period, but Corey Crawford stood tall and made several sparkling saves. The third was more of the same, with Burrows twice breaking away from Keith. The first time, Burrows got a penalty shot--the first Game 7 penalty shot in NHL history, according to Versus--but Crawford made a stick save. The second time, with only three minutes to go, Keith got called for hooking. I thought the game was done, but Jonathan Toews made a great 1-on-3 move to get into the slot, Marian Hossa put a backhander on goal, and Toews snuck the rebound in for a shorthanded goal to tie the game.

Keith drew a penalty for Chicago in overtime, and I thought Chicago had won it. Kevin Bieksa was laying out Tom-Poti-style to block the cross-crease pass (Vancouver was employing a diamond PK scheme), but Toews stickhandled around him and put a pass across the crease to Patrick Shark. Roberto Luongo, though, made a great save. Only a few minutes later, Chris Campoli's clearing attempt was snagged by Burrows (think Arnott gloving Marc Staal's clear in OT of Game 1), and Burrows moved to the slot and his slapshot beat Crawford.
  • Both goalies were fantastic in this game. Crawford almost stole it for Chicago. He made a great glove save on Ryan Kesler late in the 3rd to keep the game at 1-0, among others. Luongo was reacting well to deflections, but honestly, Chicago didn't generate all that much pressure.
  • Brian Engblom mentioned that with 10 mins to go in the third, it was "business as usual" on the Chicago bench, but at the TV timeout with ~7 minutes to go, they looked up, saw they absolutely needed a goal, and ramped up their game. Sure looked like it from here.
  • Nick Leddy stops the first goal if he's a little more defensively aware. He was there, but watching the puck and preparing for Kesler's drive to the net, not the late man, Burrows. He played a good series for a 20-year old, but one wonders what would've happened had that been, say, Brent Sopel, instead.
  • Joel Quenneville reunited Keith with Brent Seabrook late in the game.
  • Ryan Kesler was flying this game, but he and Toews again essentially cancelled each other out.
  • The Canucks celebrated Burrows' goal more than the 2000 Devils celebrated Jason Arnott's.
  • I'm not goalie, or even hockey player, but I'm pretty sure that if you execute the butterfly correctly, there isn't supposed to be any "daylight" between your legs and under you. Weak GTG for Roberto Luongo to give up, I think.
  • He made that save on Sharp so easily, though, I wonder why that backdoor play on 5-on-3s works at all.
  • I think Gillis working the refs worked.
  • Duncan Keith looked gassed. He's really fast, but Kesler, Burrows, and others were skating past him easily, even in the first minute.
  • I'm really impressed with Toews' compete level, but he has to get stronger on the puck to be an elite offensive player.
  • Did I mention Corey Crawford had a fantastic game? Even if I did, that needs reiterating.
Vancouver will play Nashville, San Jose Detroit. Chicago, with another year of growth and experience, should be even better next year.

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