Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Canuck fans are left with what might have happened if Willie Mitchell clears the puck in Game 4, which the Canucks all but had in the bag. The Canucks would have had a 3-1 series lead, and while I won't deny the Blackhawks would have had enough left in them to win three straight elimination games, it still would have been a lot to ask. All told, every one of the Canucks made some kind of pretty good sized mistake in the series, whether it be ill-advised penalties, bad clearing attempts, or just plain not producing. The thing about the Blackhawks is that they made the Canucks pay -- they didn't just make Vancouver pay for their penalties, they made them pay for one bad pass or an errant clearing attempt. Ever since that failed Mitchell clearing attempt, there were parts of these games that harkened back to last January, when it seemed every time the Canucks made a mistake, it was in the back of their net. There were a lot of broken plays in the Vancouver end that became goals one or two passes later for the Blackhawks.
The Canucks were just done in by their own mistakes and by Chicago's youth and speed. For Vancouver, they were never stronger on the puck in the offensive zone in the series than they were in Game 6. The Sedins managed to actually have some sort of cycling going on. There were quite a few times when the Canucks would keep fighting to keep pucks in the zone and they got some chances out of it. Kyle Wellwood even managed to find room in front of Nikolai Khabibulin on the Shane O'Brien goal. Alex Burrows also got up front on one of the Daniel Sedin goals. There were a ton more chances for Vancouver in this game than the two previous games. The problem, though, was that although they were getting more shots to the net, they deviated from an earlier plan -- Alain Vigneault said a couple games earlier that they didn't want to trade chances with the Blackhawks. Maybe they did some reevaluating or something, but normally if you have a 7-5 game involving the Canucks, the other team will have scored the seven goals.
Really, we should have known this wasn't going to go well when the Canucks had a stranglehold on Game 4 and couldn't even win that game. In terms of mistakes, the Canucks picked a hell of a time to jump in the time machine and go back to January. And what's with losing two of three games on home ice? Again, way too Januarian.
...and Alex Burrows or someone should have leveled Kris Versteeg after he ripped off the arrow-shot Bourdon tribute thing.
Anyway, I'll probably have more on this when I get a hold of the video.