What an entertaining game we saw on Monday night. High intensity, high drama, complete with a last minute goal to win the game. Unfortunately for Canucks fans, the Blackhawks prevailed on this night, winning 4-2 and evening the series coming back to Vancouver. Lets take a look at the bad, good and what to look forward to.
The Canucks lost, so lets start off by venting about what they did wrong. After getting an early goal and having all the momentum on their side, they were unable to get the knockout blow to make it 3-0 in the first. Still, 2-0 was a good lead but not good enough. The momentum seemed to turn on a dime and the Canucks couldn’t muster much of an attack the rest of the game. Antti Niemi was barely tested the rest of the way which allowed the Blackhawks back in it.
With that said, the Canucks lost this game on the power play. It looked terrible tonight, in particular their last three power plays in the second and third period. They had one measly shot in their final three attempts, all of which would have turned the momentum in their favour and would have gone a long way to ensuring a victory. This is especially critical when you are facing a goalie who hasn’t looked great yet in this series in Antti Niemi. To make matters worse, they allowed the Hawks to score shorthanded, evening the game and setting the stage for Kris Versteeg to win it late.
It wasn’t all bad for the Canucks on Monday night. First, their start was phenomenal. I’m sure the United Center faithful were shaking in their boots to start the game off. Also, Roberto Luongo looked strong once again, which is a good sign for this Canucks team. They also limited their penalties, giving the Blackhawks only two power plays in the game. Through two periods, the Canucks were in good shape, ahead by a goal and playing fairly even with Chicago. Alex Burrows made one of the smartest plays this season, giving the puck to Ben Eager to draw a too many men on the ice penalty.
The third period in my opinion would have been a lot different had they been better on the power play. If they could have generated a few more chances, even if they didn’t score, that would have gone a long way to shifting the momentum in their favour.
It goes without saying that game three is a big one. Will the Canucks be able to assert some dominance at home as they have most of this season? Will having last change allow the Sedins to free-wheel a little more than they have thus far? We’ll find out on Wednesday night, in what promises to be another nail biter.