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Canucks kept punching, but came up short

Tuesday, 05.12.2009 / 1:06 AM / Conference Semifinals: Vancouver vs. Chicago

By Brett Ballantini - NHL.com Correspondent

"It’s really disappointing to not force a Game 7 and push into the next round. We know we have a great group. Not taking anything away from Chicago, but this series was ours to win, and we didn’t succeed."
-- Henrik Sedin

CHICAGO – You can’t say that the Vancouver Canucks didn’t leave it all out on the ice.
 
A lesser team would have folded up in the face of wave after wave of Chicago Blackhawks attackers hitting the crease early in the first period, pushing every ounce of momentum in favor of the home team. A weaker group would have shrunk away, down 3-1 after surrendering two quick power-play goals in the second.
 
Instead, Vancouver fought back into the game with three unanswered tallies — twice taking the lead in the third period — before giving way to Chicago’s relentless rushes, capped by a nail-in-the-coffin seventh goal with 3:43 remaining from Patrick Kane, completing his hat trick.
 
"We’ve got to be proud of the way we played, coming back over and over again," winger Daniel Sedin said. "It was right there for us to win, and we couldn’t finish them off."

An inability to close out games was a running theme for Vancouver’s disappointing semifinal. While visibly frustrated over the two quick power-play goals Chicago converted early, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault nonetheless praised the high-flying Hawks.
 
"You’ve got to give them credit," he said. "They're one of the best-skilled offensive teams in the league."
 
Vigneault also was quick to defend his netminder, Robert Luongo, who appeared shell-shocked in the postgame dressing room. The ashen-faced ace said he let his teammates down and failed to make the saves he needed to make, before tearing up and cutting his media time short.
 
"We win as a team and lose as a team," Vigneault said. "Each game, we had an opportunity to win. Sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce your way."
 
Facing speculation that this may be the last run for the Canucks as currently constituted, Vancouver to a man felt its club needs a chance to have a full-strength run in next year’s postseason.
 
"This team never wants to give up," center Henrik Sedin said. "It’s really disappointing to not force a Game 7 and push into the next round. We know we have a great group. Not taking anything away from Chicago, but this series was ours to win, and we didn’t succeed."

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