Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 04/14/11 at 08:50 PM ET
From Jim Morris via The Spec:
History isn’t on the Canucks’ side as they try to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Vancouver has never beaten Chicago in Game 2 of the four playoff series they have played against the Blackhawks. The Canucks have lost those games by a combined score of 16-6.
Vancouver has won the opening game of a Chicago series three times, including the last two seasons when the Blackhawks went on to eliminate the Canucks from the second round of the playoffs.
Is game 2 the real nemesis in this series? Is it the new must-win to panic about? No and yes.
It’s a different Canucks team that’ll be getting on the ice Friday as opposed to last night, as they seem to have eradicated some ghosts from their past.
Game 2, as least to my mind, can’t be looking nearly as scary as it might have if they’d lost the first game. But winning that second game is obviously a pretty sweet plan, too. Aside from the obvious benefits of being up 2-0, countering that history of second game losses to the Hawks would be another relief for a team who has everything on their side on the stat sheet, but still needs to prove to everyone—including themselves—that the Blackhawks don’t have the edge on the mental game side of things.
As far how they’re going to achieve this, Morris writes:
The Canucks plan to keeping laying on the muscle when they face the Blackhawks on Friday in the second game of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final (CBC, 10 p.m.). Chicago workhorses Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith can expect to find themselves in the Vancouver cross-hairs.
“We’re going to try to hit those guys any chance we get,” rugged forward Tanner Glass said Thursday after the Canucks practised at Rogers’ Arena.
“Those guys are playing a ton of minutes. Any time you get to bump them, it’s going to wear them down. That goes a long ways in a long series.”
Vancouver outhit the defending Stanley Cup champions 47-21 in winning Wednesday’s first game 2-0.
So, is crash-and-bash the key to this series? Partly, I think. Wearing down your opposition like that is incredibly effective, as the Canucks have certainly experienced in years past.
But more than anything, they need to stick to their system, their style. They’ve made a franchise record this year out of disciplined, driven hockey. They want to play with an edge… but not go OVER that edge…
It’s a very precarious balance, and so far the Cancuks have straddled that line well. But the Blackhawks will be making their own adjustments, too. If a more confident ‘Hawks team shows up on Friday, Vancouver might not be able to bash their way around the rink with quite as much freedom as last night.
The ‘Hawks have been playing for the split in Vancouver from the start, whichever game they can grab, so while Vancouver deserves to be commended for a great game to open this series, tomorrow will have to be even better.
“I don’t think we played our best game. We are going to put our best game on the ice tomorrow.”
Those were Henrik Sedin’s words. I doubt anyone can disagree.
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About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]