Written by Andy Dunk
@kjackmansports, facebook.com/jackmansports, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Blackhawks staved off elimination and kept the Canucks’ brooms in their closets. The Hawks finally got to Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo, scoring six on him before forcing him to the showers early. In the aftermaths of this performance, many believe that the Blackhawks simply put up an emotional fight in order to avoid being eliminated in their own building. The consensus, Vancouver should come out strong and win the next game at home. But Blackhawks’ fans, before you write off the team whose bandwagon you all rode last year, there are a few key points that provide hope.
Tonight the Blackhawks brought energy right from the start of the game. They scored an early goal and responded to adversity in the second period netting four unanswered. While the simple reason for this may be the fact that the Hawks have their backs against the wall, there is more to it.
Tonight marked the return of Dave Bolland who missed the last 17 games. Not only was Bolland’s presence felt off the ice, but the Canucks certainly felt it on the ice. Bolland netted a goal and three assists for a remarkable four point night while posting a positive four plus-minus rating. Bolland’s line was a force in this game.
Brian Bickell returned from a wrist injury and alongside Michael Frolik helped ignite an attack with Bolland. While secondary scoring is necessary for the Blackhawks to get back in this series, it is more important for their stars to come up big.
Tonight Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane finally made an impact. Sharp tallied two goals while Kane assisted on two others. Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews also had assists. This is a promising sign for the Hawks moving forward.
Another major building point can be the defensive play. John Scott filled in for the injured Brent Seabrook and made his impact felt. He brought a physical presence which the Hawks have been lacking. Duncan Keith stepped up in the absence of his defensive partner by scoring a goal.
Finally, the Blackhawks were finally able to get to Roberto Luongo. Luongo looked out of sync in the second period as the Blackhawks were able to put consistent pressure on him. He made a few notable mistakes including failing to get his glove up leading to an easy goal for the Hawks. While simple mistakes like these may not seem big, they show that Luongo was rattled.
If the Blackhawks can come out with a furry in game five, the Canucks may be reminded of what happened in the playoffs each of the last two years. The Blackhawks may have won their first game of the series but they still need three straight wins to advance. While the odds of this happening are slim, they are far from impossible.