Blackhawks come up short in SO 2-1

 

In what was an unusually calm Blackhawks/Canucks tilt, the Blackhawks despite not playing their best still collected a point on the road. Even the Rogers arena crowd seemed pretty subdued except for when Duncan Keith had the puck and a chorus of boos echoed the building.

There were not any incidents, fights or really even any confrontations. Both teams seemed really focused on just picking up points and collecting a win.

For as much as we would like to send Roberto Luongo into stages of self doubt and lost confidence he played brilliantly against the Hawks big guns particularly in the shoot out.

The Hawks never really were able to sustain much pressure on him in regulation and there really was no net front presence to disrupt him. Give the Canucks credit they played the Hawks very tight. Instead of playing them in the usual high flying style Vancouver looked more like Nashville with their tight checking slowed down pace and plugging up of the neutral zone and blue lines.

 Special teams were not a significant factor in this one as all the scoring came either even strength or in the shoot out.

The one exception which loomed large was in the third period when the Hawks were down to a three on five penalty kill for 40 seconds. No worries Marian Hossa almost single handedly killed that time off himself with some brilliant stick work. Stick taps on the ice to Marian for the kill. Proving once again all the little ways why he is so valuable a player.  

The Hawks did get their chances they rang the posts twice once by Keith and once by Hjalmarsson but to no avail. Rookie Brandon Saad even had a puck get past Luongo but it was not completely over the goal line.

Saad may not have shown up on the stats but he had one whale of a game. Numerous times he beat the Canucks defense and got to their net. He came within a fraction of scoring. One could tell he really wants to contribute to this team and he is. He needs to stay patient it will come. Great effort all night long from the rookie.

The scoring in regulation saw the Canucks draw first blood in the first period when Alexander Edler beat Corey Crawford high glove side. There really was not much Crawford could do. Keith lost his stick and really gave up spacing enough for Edler to get one past Crawford. No one’s fault here just one of those hockey things.

In what seemed like an eternity, the Hawks finally got on the board mid third period on a nifty saucer pass from Andrew Shaw to Patrick Kane. No that is correct it was Shaw to Kane not Kane to Shaw. In what was a horrible angle Kane fired a wrister from the far top of the faceoff circle and goal line past Luongo.

The reason Shaw was on the ice with Kane was earlier Dave Bolland went down with injury in what appeared to be an injury to his knee or leg while going off the ice. Injury is still unknown.

With the game tied at the end of regulation onto overtime for the second game in a row the Hawks went. They had a late push at Luongo in OT but were forced into shoothout. Vancouver elected to go first in the shootout.

The shooters for the Hawks were Toews, Kane, Sharp and Leddy. Yes you read that right. There was much discussion on twitter regarding the choice of shooters for the Blackhawks. One would have thought with how hard Saad had played he would get an opportunity in the SO. Marian Hossa has also been missing in the SO.

Coaches usually go with a feeling and what they see in practice so maybe Coach Quenneville like the Hawks was a little off this night. Then again the Hawks did come out of this game with a point on the road in a hostile environment.

Vancouver’s shooters were Burrows, Kassian, LaPierre and the game winning shooter Jordan Schroeder who beat Crawford five hole.

One Hawk of note was Niklas Hjalmarsson who also played a solid game battling in the corners for loose pucks, rang the Canuck goal post and saved a goal himself when he cleared a puck sitting in the Hawks goal crease. Overall Hammer has been really solid for the Hawks back end since coming back from playing in Europe.

While the game was not pretty or the usual type of game between these clubs, the Blackhawks are mounting points and in the end that is all that will really matter. If the Bolland injury is not too bad then the Hawks escaped Vancouver in pretty good shape going forward.

***

GAME RECAP

 

Final score: Blackhawks 1, Canucks 2

 

CHI goals: Kane from Shaw and Sharp

VAN goals: Edler from Kassian and H. Sedin; Schroeder in SO

 

Three stars:

3)  J. Schroeder

2)  C. Crawford

1)  R. Luongo

 

Next game: Sat 2/2 @ Calgary, 9:00pm CST

 

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