Well, did anyone see that coming? After spanking the Canucks 7-2 in game 4, they followed that up with another beat down in game 5. So here we are, nervous, panicking. Is it justified? Absolutely yes. Chicago has all of the momentum and Vancouver will need to turn it around.
Thoughts on game 5:
-Chicago played well, but Vancouver also made them look good. The Hawks got a boatload of great scoring chances due to a nervous looking tentative group of forwards and defencemen.
-The Canucks defense were getting backed in too much, as evidenced by Marian Hossa’s goal where Alex Edler backed all the way back to his own hash marks. Not only that, but he deflected the shot.
-That brings me to my next point. Don’t place this loss on Roberto Luongo. All four goals that beat him were grade A scoring chances. They were shots by world class players with deflections and screens. Perhaps the only blame you can put on him was that he needed to make at least one or two out of this world saves to keep his team in it.
-The only positive the Canucks could take from game 5 was the play of their third line. The Raymond-Hodgson-Hansen line looked impressive. In fact, Cody Hodgson might have been one of the Canucks’ best players.
Looking Ahead to game 6:
-Inevitably the question will be asked if Cory Schneider should start game 6. Totally ridiculous. If Luongo had been bad, then I could see a point. Alex Edler played poorly tonight, should Aaron Rome replace him?
-Oh wait, Aaron Rome couldn’t replace Edler, because Aaron Rome played in game 5 ahead of Keith Ballard. Why? Keith Ballard had been an even plus-minus in every one of the Canucks first four games. For the record, Aaron Rome was a minus two in game 5.
-So what does Alain Vigneault do in game 6? I don’t know, but I know what I would do:
-These lines do a few things. I really liked the way the third line looked in game 5, so Raymond and Hansen will try to spark Ryan Kesler. Mikael Samuelsson gets moved to the third line, simply because it’s not working for him on the second line right now. Cody Hodgson stays in the lineup because of his strong play in game 5.
-So what can you hope for in game 6 Canucks fans? Well, the Canucks need to with emotion, but also need to be smart. They also need to not panic if they get down a goal or two or three. Their mantra all year has been to “play the right way” and they need to keep that up.
So be calm Canucks fans, stay behind your team. It’s disturbing to see them unravel like this in game 4 and 5, but they have two more chances to close out the series. They also catch a break that there is two days off before the next game. That will give them a chance to collect their thoughts and a chance for the coaching staff to make some adjustments.
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