Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how well the Hawks’ defensemen are playing against the Canucks.
Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell, Cam Barker, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Matt Walker are deciding the series, just as they did in the first round against Calgary. Keith and the rest of the defense are too fast for the slower Vancouver forwards. They’re moving the puck out of trouble and getting it to the forwards, taking the punishment in the process.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Dave Bolland’s game-winner came with five minutes remaining and after a high-sticking penalty on Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa. That was one of several penalties that drew protest from the 18,630 in attendance. Fans were also disgusted by a holding penalty on Ryan Kesler in the final four minutes and twice littered the ice with debris.
“Those two penalties to Bieksa and Kesler were, in my mind, deserved,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We’ve got a lot of players right now, without naming anyone, who can play better.”
read on for more on the Canucks/Blackhawks game…
Chicago skates into Vancouver to take game 5 with a 4-2 victory over Vancouver.
That’s makes two road teams with victories on Saturday, will the trend continue on Sunday?
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has hardly been under siege in the Chicago Blackhawks NHL playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Four games into the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal, he’s faced only 83 shots. That’s good news for both him and the Blackhawks because his save percentage is a dismal .867. Imagine if the Canucks actually tested him 35 times in a game. Even 30….
They understand they’ll have to be vastly improved in the shot department if they intend to prevail in tonight’s pivotal Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.
“Chicago is a pretty good group and they play smart defensively,” Canucks winger Alex Burrows said yesterday. “They always have three guys in the neutral zone and they have good backside pressure. Once we get the puck deep, their defencemen are able to skate it and move it.
“I think we have to have that shooting mentality. That’s how you’re successful in playoffs.”
Easy question tonight- Who wins?
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“Maybe we can put the pressure on them and get them on their heels,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “We’re confident we can win in their building if we play our way. [After] the last couple of losses people ask us if there is something we need to do to get our confidence back. I don’t think our confidence or self-esteem is going anywhere. It’s just at times we’ve had a few lapses and I think that’s the reason we’ve had two losses so far.
“If we start playing hard and start playing in their end, chipping pucks, and we don’t try and do it all ourselves, we can get that confidence, energy and momentum going our way. That’s how you win games.
“If we play the same patient game [we did in Game 2] we give ourselves a chance to win.”
more on the Blackhawks…
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Here’s the thing about trying to win a Stanley Cup playoff game 1-0.
You can string four men across the blueline and choke the life out of the other team’s attack.
You can make high-percentage plays and manage the puck until you’re blue in the face.
If you follow your game plan, you can even succeed in anesthetizing 22,682 frenzied Chicagoans in the city’s most important game in a decade.
But there’s also a flip side to playing anti-hockey.
If you’re playing the game in your end, if you’re constantly surrendering possession of the puck without attempting to mount an attack, you’re playing with fire and, against a team like the Chicago Blackhawks, you will be burned.
from Eric Dutaschek of the Globe and Mail,
This is how quickly things can change in the NHL playoffs, when the quick-strike Chicago Blackhawks are in the building.
For the better part of 57 minutes last night, the Blackhawks looked as if they’d dug themselves into a black scoring hole.
They fell behind by a goal to the Vancouver Canucks, couldn’t seem to get it back, and were in danger of dropping consecutive home playoff games at the United Center, where they’d excelled this NHL season.
But these Blackhawks have been nothing if not resilient in these playoffs — overcoming deficits, large and small throughout — and they demonstrated that capacity again last night, essentially saving their playoff lives with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the visiting Canucks.
added 1:09am, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
But like they have all along in their thrill-a-minute postseason, Martin Havlat forced overtime—and ignited a United Center crowd that sat on their hands all night—with a wrist shot from the high slot that handcuffed Luongo.
“We’ve got a new series,” said Havlat, who scored his fourth of the playoffs.
“Whoa,” Hawks GM Dale Tallon told ESPN.com in the home dressing room, holding his chest. “I thought my ticker was going to go. These kids never give up. They’re a resilient bunch.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Altogether, Vancouver has a 7-0 cumulative scoring edge in the first 30 minutes of the first three games, heading into Wednesday’s pivotal fourth game, with the Canucks ahead in the series 2-1. The Blackhawks understand they’ve been playing with fire too long and need to do a better job off the start tonight, or else risking falling behind by two games, and leaving the Canucks with three chances to wrap it up, two at home.
“The starts are critical in the outcomes of games. You can’t expect to come back from 2-0 and 3-0 every night and win hockey games,” said Blackhawks’ coach Joel Quenneville. “It’s not the recipe for success, whether you have an older team or a younger team. Getting off on the right foot and staying out of the penalty box is what we’re going to stress - and coming with more energy at the start.”
“We’ll try to get a lead,” assessed the Blackhawks’ chatty centre Adam Burish. “Then guys will settle down and relax and play the right way. Playing from behind like we have been, you’re having to force and having to create.
Will the Ducks and/or the Canucks go up 3-1 tonight?
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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