The Chicago Blackhawks composed the notes, but a familiar comeback tune hit a flat note at the end of their second game against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks, thanks to a pair of early goals in the first game and a defensive breakdown in the second, managed to escape the first two games of the series unscatched, up 2-0 for once against their Blackhawk foes.
In consecutive playoff series’, Vancouver won Game 1 and took a 2-0 lead during Game 2, before eventually conceding both the game and the series. After a Roberto Luongo shutout, the Canucks got goals from Jannik Hansen and Daniel Sedin as we headed to the midpoint of the game. Late in the second period, Blackhawk rookie Ben Smith (read: Who?), with seven career NHL games under his belt, converted a Bryan Bickell pass in front that beat Luongo for Chicago’s first goal of the series.
But Smith (who eventually scored another goal later in the third period) unfortunately put his stick in the way of an Alexander Edler shot with 10 seconds to go in the second, deflecting the puck past his goaltender Corey Crawford.
The Canucks head into the break heads high, up 3-1, which culled the importance of Viktor Stalberg’s goal two minutes into the second period off of a giveaway. Daniel Sedin scored midway through the frame to restore the Canucks’ two-goal lead before Smith took advantage of a poor Luongo rebound.
Vancouver, as a result, keeps home ice advantage, and as the series’ progresses, we have to wonder what will come of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who have each played more than 20 minutes per in the first two games, well above the sub-16 minutes the two averaged over the regular season. If Chicago’s big guns fail to get on the scoresheet playing big minutes, their energy level will come into question as the games progress.
As for the Canucks, they are up 2-0 in a series they were supposed to win, having outshot the and outhit a Blackhawk team that people were questioning whether they had the mental strength to handle. One place they need to improve upon, the faceoff circle: they won just 40% of the draws in Game 2, a difference of 10 possessions, and on special teams faceoffs, in the series are just 31%.