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