What a debacle game 3 of the second round turned out to be. A 5-2 result in which the Canucks looked out of it past the 10 minute mark of the 1s t period. At the end of the night I felt like the Blackhawks had won, and won easily. In game 2 they had to scratch and claw their way to victory, but not in game 3.
Chicago picked their spots to get under the skin of the Sedins and Luongo and they did it largely without taking a penalty. The ridiculousness of no goaltender interference penalty being called yet in this series is beside the point. They’re getting away with it. Dustin Byfuglien and Jonthan Toews both got away with inteference on Luongo which lead to Hawk goals. Those guys need to be taken care of by the Canucks D.
The Canucks need to ride that fine line also, the key being to do it without taking a penalty. The example of what not to do came from Alex Burrows on Brian Campbell in the 2nd period. A costly penalty for roughing up Brian Campbell, making it look too obvious, lead to a power play goal, and you have your game winner. David Bolland on the other hand was able to rough up Daniel Sedin while taking him off the ice with him, and there en lies the difference.
If the Canucks are to win this series, Roberto Luongo has to be better than Antti Niemi. Case closed. Niemi was better than Luongo last night as Luongo was unable to handle his rebounds all night. Of course his defense isn’t making it easy on him, as they were unwilling to move players from the crease or even willing to box players out. Take a look at Kevin Bieksa on the first goal for an example of what I mean.
GM Place = Library
What is up with the fans at GM Place? I have been to every playoff game at the Garage thus far and it is quiet in there. In the first round I chalked it up to LA not being a big rival and the fans not being as excited about the first round as we used to. But now, I don’t know. The team could have really used a jolt of adrenaline from the fans to start the game and it simply wasn’t there. I believe of the 16 playoff teams this post season, Vancouver probably has the 2nd or 3rd quietest fans, perhaps only ahead of Detroit and Ottawa. In game 3 versus Chicago, the fans were unable to start the ‘go Canucks go’ chant by themselves even once. That’s a first for a Canucks playoff game in my experience.
Reasons for this? Perhaps the 6:30pm start time played a factor, but it’s only half an hour earlier than usual. Perhaps the Canucks have finally priced most ‘real fans’ out of the building (ticket prices started at $150 each). What also must contribute to it is the brutal job done to pump up the fans before the game. There’s a decent pre-game montage on the video screen, but everything else leaves a lot to be desired. They play the quietest intro song in the league, ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ by U2 and have a few flag wavers on the ice. Maybe it shouldn’t be any surprise that it elicits a quiet response by the fans.