The video game hockey continues for the Blackhawks who for the second game in a row chased Roberto Luongo from the goal putting 4 puck behind him two days after beating him 6 times in game 4. Any Blackhawks demons that Lu had exorcised in the first 3 games of this series have to at the very least be knocking on his mask once again; 10 goals on 40 shots would do that to any goalie. Since the Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seasbrook the Hawks have out-scored the Canucks 13-3 including tonight’s 5-0 whitewash in Vancouver.
The Blackhawks followed Wednesday night’s blue print to victory with an early goal this time from Marian Hossa just 5:54 in. Duncan Keith didn’t wait long, just 24 seconds in fact, to double the Hawks lead beating Luongo for his third of the series. Former Canuck Ryan Johnson set Keith up nicely with a great area pass that allowed Keith to step into his shot. Keith continued his hot streak with the Hawks on the power play, teeing up a one-time that was redirected by Patrick Kane in the high slot to make it 3-0, 12:17 in. Just in case the Canucks had any thoughts of a comeback, Hossa put those idea’s to rest with a breakaway snipe high glove on Luongo just 1:26 into the second. The goal sent Luongo to the bench and unlike the last game he stayed with his teammates . Keith struck again at the 4:47 mark to make it 5-0 and close out the scoring. Corey Crawford stopped 36 pucks to earn the first post-season shutout of his career.
The Canucks did manage 36 shots on goal, but only 12 of them came before Keith put up Chicago’s 5th goal of the night. After that the Hawks settled into a bit of a shell, keeping the Canucks to the outside. Only 11 of Vancouvers 36 shots came from inside the dots, including only 4 of their 15 third period shots. The Hawks newly rediscovered commitment to defense is reminiscent of last season; as is the sight of Keith, Hossa, and Kane on the score sheet. The Hawks were also credited with 20 blocked shots, which is aided by limiting the Canucks to shots from the point. On the few chance that did get through Crawford rarely had to make a second save as the rebounds were quickly cleared into safe areas.
Luongo seemed to be playing farther out of his net than he had been earlier in the series. I’m not sure if this was him unconsciously reverting to his form from the last few years or if he decided to scrap his new farther back style as a result of the way the Hawks took advantage in game 4. Either way the change did not work. Luongo’s glove looked slow especially on Hossa’s two goals which both went high glove.
The series now returns to Chicago with all of the pressure still sitting squarely on the Canucks shoulders. If the Hawks can play 120 more minutes like they have the last 120 minutes we may get to witness one of the greatest sports comeback ever.