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.

NHL Phase 2 target time and guidelines firming up for Return to Play

NHL Phase 2 target time and guidelines firming up for Return to Play

On Monday morning, The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported that the NHL and NHLPA sent out a protocol for Phase 2, which includes team practice facilities opening up and small group workouts beginning, that was sent to players and teams late Sunday night.

The memo stated the NHL is planning on transitioning to Phase 2 in early June but the league isn't sure specifically when and how long the camps may last according to LeBrun.

The document also stressed player participation in Phase 2 is voluntary as teams can't require players to travel back to the home ice cities. 

Per LeBrun, the agreement also states no more than six players are permitted to be at a practice facility at one time and no coaches or other team personnel are allowed on the ice. 

Players will be required to wear face coverings while entering and leaving facilities and inside facilities during times when "social distancing cannot be maintained.''

For testing during Phase 2, LeBrun tweeted the following excerpt from the memo:

"As an over-riding principle, testing of asymptomatic Players and Club personnel must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests.''

The NHL released the protocol to the public at 10 a.m. central on Monday.

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Blackhawks 2019-20 season in review: Corey Crawford

Blackhawks 2019-20 season in review: Corey Crawford

The NHL put its 2019-20 season on pause March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but remains hopeful to award the Stanley Cup at some point. Although it's unclear if or when it could return, NBC Sports Chicago will recap the season of each Blackhawks player to date in our "season in review" series. Next up is Corey Crawford.

One of the most intriguing storylines going into Blackhawks training camp this season was how the goaltending tandem would work between Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner, both of whom were going to be pending unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

You have a two-time Stanley Cup champion on one end and a reigning Vezina Trophy finalist on another and each of them deserved their fair share of starts. It's a good problem to have if you're a coach, but the other part of the challenge is trying to keep both netminders happy.

"They both want to play 60 games, 80 games maybe,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said in November. “That's part of the team. [Patrick Kane] wants to play 60 minutes. It's how it is. Ultimately, we want to make decisions that help the team win and part of that is keeping both guys fresh, keeping both guys playing at a high level and I think that's going to be a benefit for us as the season goes on."

For most of the season, it worked.

Going into the NHL All-Star break, the Blackhawks had the sixth-best team save percentage at .913; Lehner led the way at .922 and Crawford was at .910. But coming out of the break, Crawford was lights out and Lehner was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights at the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

From Jan. 27 and on, Crawford went 7-7-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average, .927 save percentage, 7.60 goals saved above average and 9.76 high-danger goals saved above average, which ranked No. 1 among all goaltenders over that span, according to Natural Stat Trick. He clearly got into a rhythm the more starts he got and kept the Blackhawks in the playoff race down the stretch.

"He’s been excellent, coming up with big saves when we needed them," Colliton said of Crawford at the beginning of March. "He’s been excellent for a while now. I’d have to really work to go back to find one where we didn’t like his play. It’s a big boost for our group."

With the NHL Players' Association signing off over the weekend on the NHL's proposed 24-team return-to-play format, the Blackhawks will have an opportunity to compete for a playoff spot when hockey returns. And if Crawford can get back to the level he was at before the NHL pause, don't count out the Blackhawks to make some noise because a hot goaltender could be the difference in a series.

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