Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Posted: 12:07 a.m. Updated: 1:51 a.m.
By Tracey Myers
VANCOUVER, British Columbia Corey Crawford did the proverbial headstand in net. Jonathan Toews came up with the big goal when the Chicago Blackhawks needed it most.
But Vancouver winger Alex Burrows made the Canucks opening statement with his early goal. And he was there at the end to put the exclamation point on it.
WATCH: Crawford didn't get a clear read
Burrows intercepted a failed Chris Campoli clearing pass and put it past Crawford 5:22 into overtime as the Canucks eliminated the Blackhawks 2-1 in Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday night. It was a thrilling ending to a great series, one in which the Canucks finally nipped their postseason nemesis.
WATCH: Toews says it's a tough one to swallow
Weve had some good series in the past but Ive got to say that was the best one, said Toews, whose short-handed goal tied the game with just 1:56 remaining in regulation. I cant believe it. Theres no doubt in my mind we were going to win this game.
The Blackhawks almost did. But Burrows, whose penalty shot was stopped by Crawford early in the third, wouldnt be denied in overtime. Blackhawks defenseman Campoli lifted the puck to clear but Burrows got a glove on it, skated through the slot and scored the series clincher.
You can't have turnovers like that. I made the play, not him (Burrows), said a distraught looking Campoli. Those are the kind of turnovers you can't have. It cost us the game and it's disappointing.
Crawfords worked loomed large considering the rest of the Blackhawks could get little going offensively against a defensive-minded Canucks team. But the Canucks couldnt get breathing room because of Crawford, who stopped 36 of 38.
WATCH: Quenneville on Crawford
Thats one of the greatest goaltending performances in clutch situations youre ever going to see, coach Joel Quenneville said. He gave us a chance.
Defenseman Brian Campbell said he felt bad Crawford had to take the loss.
WATCH: Campbell says the Hawks didn't accomplish their goal
He was unbelievable, no question, with the way he played all season and he just battled. He came up with huge saves for us. He had a lot of pressure coming into this season, he got his chance and were lucky to have him on our team.
Roberto Luongo rebounded off his last three tough outings twice pulled, another in relief of Cory Schneider by stopping 31 of 32. His biggest came early in overtime, when he denied Patrick Sharps power-play shot.
It looked like he anticipated that pretty well, Quenneville said of Luongos read.
Nobody anticipated this series going seven games. But it was nonetheless. The Blackhawks arent happy their postseason ended this quickly but its just one more learning experience in a season full of them.
WATCH: Keith didn't like the Power Play
Obviously (Vancouver) is a great team. Give the credit for what they did tonight, Toews said. But we know what we have in this locker room and well learn from this experience. We had ourselves down 3-0 and its a tough thing to do to come back. We were one goal away and its disappointing. But at the same time we can learn from it.
There had been two shoulder-to-head hits in this series. Raffi Torres landed the first on Brent Seabrook, who missed Games 4 and 5 because of it. Bryan Bickell landed a very similar one on Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa in Game 6. Both came behind the net. Torres was assessed a two-minute minor, Bickell nothing; neither received supplemental discipline because they fell under a rule that allows such a hit behind the net.
Corey Crawford is joined by teammates after allowing the GW goal in the Blackhawks 2-1 Game 7 OT loss to the Canucks. (AP)
Seabrook said the biggest thing is just everyone knowing what the rules are on those hits.
If theyre legal theyre legal. It looked like same hit I had. I just think we have to be more aware of it, he said. The refs are doing their job, theyve got a tough enough job without worrying about what is or isnt a penalty. There are some guys who are confused. Bieksa said it well. Its a hockey play, its a hockey hit. If thats it, thats the rule, we all have to be good with that.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.