Canucks take game 1
The atmosphere around Rogers Arena was full of excitement. That, mixed with nervousness. After all, the defending Cup champs, the kryptonite to the Canucks, had touched down in Van City ready to defend their title.
Nervousness was soon replaced by chest pounding and group hugs as the Canucks shut the door on the Blackhawks, and took Game 1 by a score of 2-0.
Roberto Luongo was, in a word, belissimo, as he stole the show, continuing the level of play that won him the Jennings trophy this season. He made three highlight reel saves on Brian Campbell and Patrick Sharp, and most importantly, got a goose egg against the team that has made him look like an AHL'er the last two playoffs.
The game started quickly for the Canucks, who got the puck and never seemed to give it back in the first period. They outhit, skated, and scored the Hawks, and ended up outshooting them 13-7.
First, it was deadline acquisition Chris Higgins tipping home a Kevin Bieska point shot for his first of the playoffs. Rookie goalie Corey Crawford was very solid in the game, and couldn't really be faulted for the two goals that did go in.
Just over two minutes later, Jannik Hansen made it 2-0, when he skated in alone on Crawford, made a quick backhand to forehand and placed a perfect shot over Crawford's blocker.
From that point on, it was the Roberto Luongo show. His best save was a stop on Brian Campbell. Campbell was left all alone in front, received the centering pass, and shot it on net. He turned around, arms half raised in the air, celebrating his sure goal.
Except that Luongo, at the last possible second, went post to post, got his toe on the shot and kept it out. Campbell stared with an open mouth and dinner plate eyes.
The game featured some heavy hitting, with Defenceman Alex Edler dishing out most of the shots. Edler, back after back surgery, was easily the best defenceman on the night.
The game didn't have too many scrums, except for the end, when Patrick Kane gave Dan Hamhuis a slash. Hamhuis, behind Kane, pushed him, facewashed him, and pretty much ragdolled him. Kane responded with a feeble shove, but at the end of the day had to be bailed out by his teammates. Frustration on a normally cool as a cucumber Hawks team? Advantage Vancouver.
Notes: The Sedin twins didn't have a strong night, never really recording any major scoring chances. They HAVE to play better. Keith Ballard played his first playoff game of his six year career. Dan Hamhuis led all Vancouver skaters with 22 minutes of ice time