Blackhawks

Blackhawks can't solve Luongo, trail series 1-0

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Blackhawks can't solve Luongo, trail series 1-0

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Posted: April 13, 11:40 p.m. Updated: 1:02 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia The Chicago Blackhawks know exactly what kind of start they needed to have against a hungry Vancouver Canucks team eager to knock them out.

Nevertheless, when the Canucks hit, the Blackhawks didnt hit back in the early going. And over the final 40 minutes, they just couldnt come up with any other answers.

Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen scored in the first period and the Blackhawks could get nothing past Roberto Luongo in their 2-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference quarterfinal opener. The Canucks took a 1-0 lead in the series, setting the tone early and letting Luongo do the rest down the stretch.

WATCH: Luongo more lucky or good?

It was a tough start. In the first they came at us in waves and we had no response, coach Joel Quenneville said. (We needed) more urgency right off the bad. The first playoff game, pace is not regular season. Its all out.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 33 shots in the loss.

Canucks initiated contact on Crawford

Despite the venom between the two teams and the atmosphere, the Blackhawks came out flat. The Canucks came out determined and hitting, eventually recording 47 hits to the Blackhawks 21. It was a physical beginning that the Blackhawks expected from the Canucks, but for which they had no answer.

Its something we need to respond to. We cant just lay around and take that, said captain Jonathan Toews. Throughout the game we werent moving our feet enough. We make ourselves easy targets for those checks. We didnt play hard enough in their corners and in front of their net.

The Blackhawks got more opportunities after the first period. But there they were either snake-bitten or didnt get quality opportunities. The Blackhawks hit four posts one Toews shot went through Luongos legs, then hit metal but they also got little traffic in front of the Vancouver goaltender.

I dont think we sustained enough of a fore-check throughout the game to have a solid net presence and solid traffic, said Troy Brouwer. We had some shots from the outside but most of them he was able to see. For us, we didnt accomplish that at all. Its one of a few things were going to have to improve upon in Game 2.

Campbell: We're not going to shy away

Still, Luongo was stellar. His best save came late in the first period, when he made a right-toe stop on Brian Campbells one-timer. Campbell thought he had scored, but the shot went off Luongos toe, hit the post and stayed out.

I was hoping (I scored), Campbell said. He didnt get all of it. He made a great save, but I shot it back into his toe and it hit his toe and off the post. There was room there. Hes a world-class goaltender and hes going to be tough to beat. But we have to find ways to get past him.

The Blackhawks didnt have the urgency necessary to start out Game 1. Theyll need it throughout for Game 2.
Patrick Kane battles two Canucks up along the boards in Game 1. The Blackhawks understand the need to match Vancouver's physical play and win more battles for the puck. (US PRESSWIRE)
We came out a little bit flat. They came out, they played hard and they had something to prove. They wanted to have a good start and they did, Brouwer said. We played a little bit better in the second but we need to have a better start otherwise were going to be coming from behind this entire series.

Briefly

Tomas Kopecky suffered an upper-body injury late in the first period and did not return. Quenneville said theyll re-evaluate Kopecky on Thursday.

Ryan Johnson was injured by a hit along the boards late in the third period. He stayed on the bench but did not play another shift. Quenneville said he is fine.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Probably not the way the Blackhawks wanted to start their second half of the season.

After a five-day break, the Blackhawks suffered a brutal 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night at the United Center. This coming after a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on home ice last Sunday.

"It was a game we had to win," Quenneville said after Saturday's loss. "Disappointing in a lot of ways."

The Blackhawks needed both goaltenders to get through 60 minutes. Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass combined for 39 saves on 46 shots.

On the offensive side of things, Patrick Kane hit a milestone.

The 29-year-old had two goals and an assist and recorded his 800th career point, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to reach 800 points.

The Blackhawks are now 22-18-6 on the season with 50 points and rank last in the Central Division, five points behind the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

The Blackhawks' schedule doesn't get any easier when the Tampa Bay Lightning — the league-leader in points — come to town on Monday.

See what Quenneville and Kane had to say about Saturday's loss in the video above.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Islanders

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Islanders

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the New York Islanders tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Erik Gustafsson's season debut.

The Blackhawks recalled one of their top defensive prospects on Jan. 9 but haven't been able to get him some game action yet. All signs point to that changing tonight.

He skated on a pairing with Brent Seabrook during Friday's practice, and was even placed on the second power play unit during special teams drills. Joel Quenneville was excited about the possibility of finally getting Gustafsson into the lineup.

"Good option, good opportunity," Quenneville said. "We’re not for sure but certainly he’s been around, he’s eager to go. I look forward to seeing what he can do."

2. Anthony Duclair's promotion.

He hasn't been in Chicago for very long but Duclair is quickly working his way up the lineup. The newly-acquired Blackhawk registered an assist in his team debut last Friday in a 2-1 victory over Winnipeg, and was put on a power play unit as well.

On Friday, Duclair was promoted to the top line with Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews and continued getting reps on the second power-play unit. Let's see if the 22-year-old can take advantage of that opportunity in a top-six role.

3. Mathew Barzal.

Three rookies will be named finalists for the Calder Trophy at the end of the season. Barzal is a lock to be one of them.

He not only leads all rookies with 48 points, but he ranks 15th in the entire league in the scoring race and is the only first-year player averaging at least a point per game. 

The 20-year-old center has been sensational and he already has two five-point games in his young professional career. To put that into perspective, Patrick Kane recorded his first NHL five-point effort two weeks ago against the Ottawa Senators.