Friday, May 08, 2009


While I do have an issue with the Canucks trying to sit on a 1-0 lead, Chicago was getting absolutely nothing until the very play where Martin Havlat scored that goal. The Canucks played a near-perfect road game in Game 3. In this Game 4, the Canucks played a good road first period, managed to get a goal from the fourth line in the second period, then put the clamps down and bored the pants off the fans in Chicago. People will complain to all hell about the Canucks playing a boring style of hockey and equating it to the Devils or the Wild, but if at least part of the motive was to take the crowd out of the game, it was worth it. Like I mentioned, the crowd was completely dead until Havlat scored that goal.

I got a bit nervous when the Canucks were sending just the single forechecker, and then even more nervous when I started not seeing a forechecker (might have been a camera angle thing). Still, the Canucks weren't generating a lot of chances, which is bad, but they had a lead and Chicago was getting nothing. Willie Mitchell is getting the pile-on for that tying goal, which is too bad. What's too bad about this game is that really the first mistake the Canucks made defensively ended up in the back of their net and tied the game. Mitchell tried to clear the puck along the right-wing boards and through a mess of bodies that included Andrew Ladd, Taylor Pyatt, and Kyle Wellwood and failed. Martin Havlat then picked up the puck and skated slightly faster than Mitchell, Wellwood, and Steve Bernier (from behind), who were all trying to reach in with sticks to impede the shot. Roberto Luongo after the game said that Havlat fanned a bit, which messed him up as he was ready to stop the perfect shot.

All told, Luongo had a big stop which the Canucks used to eventually get the Darcy Hordichuk goal, but Nikolai Khabibulin got a stop or two in on the only chances the Canucks had in overtime, which the Blackhawks used to get the final goal. Bolland went over to the boards to pick up a loose puck, then just shot toward the net without really looking, and Ladd tipped in five-hole on Luongo.

I guess the tough part is that the Canucks had this game completely dominated and had it in the bag. Two minutes and 44 seconds is all they had to get through. Apparently Mitchell made the right move since clearing down the middle of the ice isn't the fundamentally correct move, but it seemed to me there was some open ice and Bernier down the middle of the ice.

I didn't want this to be a long series, but a win in this game would have pushed Chicago to the brink and the Canucks could have finished it off tomorrow night. Instead, the Canucks have to go back to Chicago for Game 6 and hopefully they just win the next two because I don't think I can take a Game 7 against this team. Two years ago against Dallas was different, and that was a first-round series.

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