CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 24: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks has words with Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 24, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Sometimes it is just more agonizing. This is one of those times. The better team was from the West Coast tonight, and deserved a better fate.
Here's some kind words from Bob Marley to make you feel better. Don't judge the marks too harshly tonight. There were Canucks all over the ice that outplayed their counterparts, especially in a 10-3 in shots third period.
Just think how much more fun it will be to finally put these guys away!? There is nothing like a Game 7. Think the NHL is not loving this? Keep the faith!Wonder Twins powers activate -
The Sedins played with a variety of people tonight. They were playing well, and AV tried to get them out at different times, with more shifts some time with Burrows, and some time with Hansen. Mainly, they were matched up with Samuelsson, so that's where we will start. Their scores might be a little lower, but it sure was not for lack of trying!
Henrik played a whopping 25:14 this game (2:44 PP/ :11 PK ). That line was all -2 in this game, but its not like they were outplayed defensively ( though Daniel was just that 1/2 second late to Smith on the winning goal. ( Bolland's goal was a bang bang play, and one in which they were just coming on when Schneider inadvertently passed the puck to Kane )Tough break ). Hank won 9 of 20 draws, had an assist and 2 hits ( I KNOW! ) A 2 min penalty for not falling the way the officials like when crosschecked at the end of the second. 7.8/10.
Daniel looked to be inspired tonight. 7 shots on goal, missing 2 more. 1 went in. 25:29 TOI ( same special teams time as his bro' above ) On for the winner against, and that was tough, but they both "brought it" tonight. 7.8/10.
Samuelsson got the plum assignment tonight, as AV wanted the Terror Twins reunited. He had 22:29 TOI ( 2: 31 PP ) and was only credited with 2 shots, though he missed 2 others, and had several deflected or blocked. 3 hits, 2 takeaways, and no damn luck 7.6/10.
Terror Twins , meet The Speed -
Glad to see that AV reads NM, as he took my advice from last game and started Kesler with Burrows. Though it was not Higgins who benefited ( though he did see some shifts there ), it was Raymond. That line was flying, and gave the Hawks all they could handle all night.
Kesler had another game where he was all over the ice. Less than others on the scoresheet, with only 1 shot, 1 missed shot, 1 penalty and 2 hits. His 29:32 TOI led all forwards. He played solid on the PK through the 2 man advantage ( 3:20 on the PK, 2:41 PP ) and won 20 of 39 draws, mainly against Toews, who he has checked well. Needs a goal or two soon. 8/10.
Burrows thrived on his new line, as they made the Toews line defend, even when Stalberg was upgraded to Sharp at times in the third and O/T. 1 goal and 2 assists, +2, 2 shots, 4 hits and 2 takeaways. Great PK work, especially on the two man advantage. Should have had another goal, but hit the post with an open net. 26:48 TOI ( 1:19 PP/4:17 PK ) 9/10.
Mason Raymond has had a pretty good playoffs when compared with his so-so regular season.22:49 TOI (:45 PP/1:42 SH )1 assist, 2 shots ( 1 missed ) and 1 hit. Took a very dumb penalty for hooking Campbell while already down a man though 7.9/10
Ladies and Gentlemen, Your New 3rd Line -
Like I said, AV was doing some juggling, especially early, but from the midpoint on, the third line consisted of Lapierre at centre between Higgins and Hansen. They were out on shifts versus the Toews line ( with Sharp on occasion ), the Hossa line, and seemed to meet all challenges pretty well.
Lapierre had a 6 for 13 night in the circle, had 4 shots, 1 block, 3 hits and 1 takeaway and an even in a very full and rich 14:02 TOI ( :56 SH ) I liked his game, and he seemed to mesh well with his onetime Hab teammate and Hansen. 8.5/10.
Higgins continues to work hard and do his part since becoming a Canuck at the deadline. In his 17:45 ( 1:19 PP/:39 PK ) , he was credited with 1 shot, and 1 missed shot. I am not sure if that includes hitting the post in the 3rd. So close for him. He had 4 hits, and played pretty well against a variety of opposition. Just wish that shot was a 1/2 inch to the left. 8/10.
Hansen continues to grow into a more complete player every game. In 17:39 TOI ( 1:17 SH ) he had 2 shots, 1 missed, 1 block, 2 hits and 1 takeaway, playing against tough opposition most of the night. A popular number tonight. 8/10.
The Other Guys -
Unfortunately, for Hodgson, it was an almost costly delay of game penalty. He managed a shot, a couple hits, and a take away in his 7:11 TOI. He only won 1 of 5 draws tonight though. 6.9/10
Torres just did not seem to be able to impact the game either. He only had 1 shot and 1 block in his 6:16 of mainly even strength TOI ( 12 sec PK ). That penalty, though contentious ( looked like he got a healthy push from Leddy ) was avoidable. 6.6/10
Oreskovich may have had the best game of the 4th liners for the Canucks. He did not put his team on the PK like his linemates. He had 2 shots , and 3 hits of the large variety in his 5:40 TOI. Not a hindrance at all. 7.5/10.
Blue Liner Down -
The Canuck defensemen had a good and bad night. Some better than others. They all had a huge increase in ice time when Salo went down just 8 minutes in. As such, he gets an incomplete tonight, and we will just give a rating to each of the other guys individually.
Bieksa was the blue liner with the most ice time tonight at 36:33 TOI. ( only :37 PP/ 2:44 PK ) In that time he scored the third goal with a nice jump into the play. He finished a +2. 1 shot on goal, 1 off, 1 blocked shot, 2 hits and a takeaway. Lets say a "lucky" 8.8/10. ( know your Chinese numerology! ) Tough SOB too. Bickell should have been penalized for his blatant head shot on Bieksa as well ( not that is a head shot Hawk fans, arms up, elbow out. Can you stop complaining about Torres now, or is it Bieksa's fault his head is harder than Seabrook's?
Hamhuis spent a lot of shifts with his regular partner Bieksa, and others filling in for his 30:47 TOI. ( 3 sec on PP/ 4:39 PK ) He finished an even, with 2 shots on goal, a team high 5 blocks, a hit and a takeaway. While it was not his fault because of an ill thought out pass by Schneider that put him in a bad spot, he was blown up by a hit by Bolland that led to the Bickell goal for the Hawks. 8/10.
Alexander Edler had a big game ice wise as well. He played 31:59 TOI (1:32 PP/1:32 PK ) He was dangerous on the power play, but the Hawks deserve credit for blocking 31 shots tonight, several of those on point shots on the power play. a +1, 3 shots, 2 missed, 2 blocks, 3 hits and 2 giveaways. Gert that shot through better E-Money! 7.9/10.
The big German had a little tougher game. Ehrhoff was on for 30:16 ( 2:52 PP/1:13 PK )and ended up a -2 for his troubles. 4 shots on net, and an entirely unacceptable 7 shots that missed. Only 1 hit. 7.2/10.
You do have to feel for Andrew Alberts. He got outplayed by Hossa on the winning goal in his own end. His first game of the playoffs, where he is supposed to be the 6th defenseman, is put out of whack by Salo's injury, and he plays 14:55 of mainly 5 on 5 ice time as a result. He ended up a -1 on the GWG, had 3 hits, and maybe deserved a better fate this night. 7.3/10.
Your Starting Netminder....
Well, that was a surprise huh? Alain Vigneault played it very close to the vest, and while the team undoubtably knew earlier, the starting of Cory Schneider surprised everybody.
He lived up to his coach's confidence early in the game. A bad bounce off the stanchion almost cost him early, but the play went the other way. He should have saw it as a harbinger, a warning to just stay in the crease.
Schneider was making the big saves though, the first off of Kane coming out of the penalty box on a breakaway. Others on Toews and Bolland in close were solid. A huge sequence when Toews went around Alberts showed Ginger Jesus was in a saving mood, stoning the Hawk captain, and doing the same to Campbell on the rebound.
Should have stayed in the crease a little more, as the two bad plays that resulted in goals . Brought him down to a 8/10. A shame he was injured on the penalty shot though, as he had a very strong game, in the crease anyhow!
So, what about Luongo then? Well, he got in with 18:29 to play in the third, and barely saw the puck. He had to make a tricky save on Kane in the last minute, and seemed to learn from Schneider, staying in the net on pucks sent in more than he usually does. Made some big saves in O/T. Some Luongo haters are going to point to the winning goal and say he left a rebound. The shot looked to come through traffic late, and he had to dive with the blocker. I won't blame him for that. But then again, I am a fan of the big lug. 7.9/10.
All in all, this was a tough loss for the team and fans. The better team did not win tonight, but maybe the luckier one. There were a few calls that could have went the other way as well. Some might have even changed the game. We will never know. Perhaps the home team will get those breaks in Game 7.