The Hawks entered tonight's tilt with the Canucks needing to adjust their game and get more rebound attempts on Luongo while increasing their net presence. Game 2 is always a pivotal affair in a seven-game series, and the Hawks would love to snag home-ice advantage from the Canucks.
Eight minutes into the game, and after killing off the Hawks’ first power play opportunity, two failed clearing attempts from the Hawks let the ‘Nucks maintain possession. One of the Ugly Twins made a perfect pass from behind the net to Jannik “Sudden Blackhawk Killer” Hansen for a one-timer and an early 1-0 lead.
The first period would end with that 1-0 score, thanks to Corey Crawford a huge save on a 2-on-0 against the Sedins, and the post making a save on Mason Raymond. The physicality would continue and instead of just playing physical with the ‘Nucks, the Hawks started to get frustrated. Eventually, this would boil over when Sharp would eliminate all the momentum that the Hawks started to pick up late in the period by dropping a Canucks’ d-man after a whistle, so the Hawks will start the second on the kill.
Thirty seconds into the second, on the power play, Christian Erhoff would fire a low hard shot to the net where Daniel Sedin was waiting and tipped it home. 2-0 Canucks. Hossa failed to get in the shooting lane at the point and no one bothered to get rid of Sedin in front of the net.
With five minutes remaining in the second, Bryan Bickell brought the puck in along the boards. Ben Smith charged the net and slammed on the brakes at the far post, where Bickell found him for his first career NHL playoff goal on a tap-in. 2-1.
With thirteen seconds remaining, Alexander Edler would fire a slapshot from the point which would hit Ben Smith’s stick on an attempted block and give Crawford no chance to stop it. An absolute killer goal against as the second expired. 3-1, Canucks.
The late goal sapped all the momentum out of the Hawks that Ben Smith’s goal got them. You could see the extra jump in the Hawks’ step after the goal. They had hope again and just like that, it’s gone. The third period, even if the Hawks lose, is critical to how the series will progress.
Three minutes into the third period, Marcus Kruger forced a turnover along the boards in the Canucks zone. Viktor Stablerg would come and pick up the loose puck, fire a shot between a d-man’s legs, beating Luongo glove-side. 3-2 Canucks.
Halfway through the third, Daniel Sedin would get the lead back to two. He found himself skating into the slot against Marian Hossa, who drifted TO THE OUTSIDE and let Sedin have a clear look at the net, which he made no mistake on, beating Crawford glove-side just inside the post. 4-2, Canucks.
Three minutes later, Michael Frolik threw a slapshot from just inside the blue line. Luongo would make the save, but put the rebound right into the slot, where rookie Ben Smith was waiting to bury his second goal of the game. 4-3, Canucks.
The Hawks would mount a valiant effort from here on out, but could not get that elusive tying goal, eventually falling to the Canucks 4-3, despite a very strong effort at the end. After the second period, I was prepared to rant and rave, but thankfully for all of you, I’m leaving it alone. The one point I will hit on is how does it take a rookie scoring to get your feet moving? Where are the guys with letters on their shirts?
Biggest takeaway for Hawk fans: We got pucks behind Roberto Luongo. That seed of doubt very well could be creeping in. I guess the timing is good since the next time he plays will be at the UC, with Chelsea Dagger ready to blare.
- The second Daniel Sedin goal: Why the hell did Keith and Hossa both just back off and let Sedin waltz into the slot, set a picnic up, eat a sandwich, have some ice cream, and oh yeah, score a goal. Protect the slot.
- Skate Ben Smith on the second line like you started. Smith-Frolik-Kane has been a solid line combination since shift one, as strange as it seems, so just roll with it. Sometimes you don’t question these things.
- Keith played 27 minutes while Leddy played 8. I don’t understand why Leddy isn’t getting more ice time. Granted, he’s not the solution to all our problems, but he’s played incredibly well, especially considering he’s a rookie, so why not give him another 5-8 minutes and let Keith rest a little. Plus, Keith hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire.
- Ben Smith: Benny Boy notched two goals, got to the dirty areas, and pushed this team back into the game with his two goals.
- Viktor Stalberg: Stalberg wasn’t sniffing this list until he scored, but after that, he was bringing it on every shift. Vik was throwing his body around, making smart plays, and using his speed to stretch the Vancouver D.
- Scoring three goals on Luongo. Like I said above: plant that seed of doubt. It’ll grow.
Up Next: A 7pm Sunday tilt back at the Madhouse.
I thought the Hockey Lovin' Homos had glass seats?
I just like this.
"Don't worry guys, I'm like 10 years old, but I'll carry you millionaires, it's cool."