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.

Yes, the Blackhawks are scoreboard watching ... because it's part of the fun

Yes, the Blackhawks are scoreboard watching ... because it's part of the fun

When you look at the Western Conference standings, you'll notice that the Blackhawks have three teams to jump to get into the playoffs. It puts them in a tough spot because on one hand, what other teams do is beyond your control.

But it's also relevant to the Blackhawks and what they have to do to get in. Every team is scoreboard watching at this point of the season, especially when the games remaining list reaches the single digits.

"Yeah, I mean just generally watch games at night and obviously watch the teams that are close to us in the standings," Dylan Strome said. "You just keep an eye on them and see what happens. I think it's never a bad thing to be aware of what's going on around you. Obviously, first and foremost is us, but at the same time you gotta know where you stand and what you're fighting for. We all know that in this room but things can change each night in the NHL so I think it's good to be aware."

The Blackhawks were idle on Tuesday night, but the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota were not. In fact, they faced each other and both teams are ahead of the Blackhawks in the playoff picture. So in that instance, is there a sense of trying to mathematically figure out which team winning and losing would give them the better chance at making the playoffs?

"Yeah and then it usually goes into overtime," Strome laughed. "That's usually the way it goes sometimes. You never cheer for one team or for another. Last game of the year, maybe, if the standings are coming down to that, but I think right now with the fortune's kind of in our own hands. I think it's just about us taking care of business and giving it a good effort every night, and hopefully getting one or two [points] every night."

There's a delicate balance between exerting too much energy into looking at what other teams around you are doing and focusing on your own game and controlling what you can control. But this is part of the fun of being in a playoff hunt, and the hype surrounding it.

"I'll look," coach Jeremy Colliton acknowledged. "Depends how the day looks. I think it's fun. I love hockey, love watching fun games and certainly games that affect us are more interesting. But doesn't affect ... we're still focused on our own team and we said a few times, if we go on a great run here at the end it will work out. I believe that. I think things have a way of working out if you do your job. That'll be our focus here."

While there may not necessarily be direct rooting interest when channel surfing around the league, there is one thing Blackhawks players and coaches can agree on: anything but a three-point game.

"That's a fact," Colliton said. "No overtime."

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Hawks Talk Podcast: What will it take for Blackhawks to make playoffs?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What will it take for Blackhawks to make playoffs?

What will it take for the Chicago Blackhawks to earn a playoff spot with 10 games remaining? Pat Boyle, Steve Konroyd and Charlie Roumeliotis discuss where the Blackhawks stand after a rough 3-2 loss in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks.

With Corey Crawford at the top of his game again, should the Blackhawks try to ride him into the playoffs? How have Jeremy Colliton’s line changes impacted Patrick Kane’s game? Plus, breakouts from Eric Gustafsson and Brendan Perlini have been huge for the Blackhawks during their recent streak of six straight games with a point. 

0:45 - Missed opportunity for Blackhawks against Canucks

2:45 – Hawks changing up lines has slowed down Patrick Kane

5:45 – Should the Blackhawks ride Corey Crawford while he’s hot?

8:00 – Hawks will need 13-15 points in final 10 games to get playoff spot

10:30 – Brendan Perlini has finally figured it out for Hawks

12:35 – Erik Gustafsson’s breakout year has been vital to Hawks success

15:35 – Dylan Sikura still hasn’t scored, but he’s been all over the ice

18:50 – Prediction time…will the Hawks make the playoffs?

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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