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All good things...

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
All good things come to an end.

My mom told me that after my first girlfriend broke my heart in grade five and the Canucks are preaching that message after losing Game 2 of the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The final damage was 6-3 for the Blackhawks, but this game was all but over when Dave Bolland scored a shorthanded goal off a hail mary pass from Duncan Keith with under four minutes to play in the second period.

That goal put Chicago up 3-2 and although it didn’t stand as the game-winner, it was a monumental blow to Vancouver and the Canucks had little to no life after that tally.

The weird thing about the Bolland goal was that it put Vancouver behind the eight ball for only the second time all playoffs. The only other time the Canucks had trailed prior to that was in Game 3 of the opening round series against the St. Louis Blues.

After leading 2-0 through 20 minutes of play in Game 2, Vancouver had led in 13 of 17 periods, including overtime, or 76% of the time in the playoffs. That’s as unbelievable as Roberto Luongo giving up five or more goals in regulation, the last time he did that was back on Oct. 31, 2008 in a 7-6 loss to the Anaheim Ducks - a gaudy streak stretching 49 games.

Like I said, all good things come to an end.

“Obviously I don’t think we had our best game,” said Luongo, who finished with 26 saves.

“I’ve got to be better in there at the same time we’ve all got to be better at making sure we play a bit tighter there.

“It’s a seven game series, we didn’t expect to win every game, so we’re just going to have to put this one behind us and regroup and make sure we’re ready to go on Tuesday.”

The burden of this loss doesn’t fall squarely on the Luongo’s shoulders; everyone deserves a piece of the pie with the team finishing with a combined plus/minus of minus-26.

It would be easy to point fingers, but no blamestorming sessions will be held over the next two days. The Canucks are in the second round of the playoffs because they are a tight nit group. They know how to win together and they also know how to lose together.

“I think it’s a group, you win and lose as a team,” said Mats Sundin, who had a pair of assists in Game 2 and has four points in as many playoff games.

“Up until this game I think we’ve done a pretty good job of winning and losing as a team. We had a loss tonight and we have to bounce back as a group and that means everyone playing better defensively including our forwards.

“We’ve got to take care of our own end and do a better job there. That’s the bottom line and that’s where we have to start.”

Sundin also offered up cutting down on turnovers as a key to shooting down the Blackhawks as the series shifts to the Windy City for Games 3 and 4, while Shane O’Brien was still puzzled as to what exactly went wrong on this night.

“Just some coverage, there were some goals where they beat us out of the corners, stuff like that,” said O’Brien.

“It’s all kind of a blur right now. Once we look at [game tape] when we get into Chicago we’ll be able to make adjustments then.”

One major league adjustment that needs to be made is buckling down and not giving away sizeable leads. This was the second consecutive game the Canucks had blown at least a two-goal cushion, in Game 1 they let a 3-0 lead evaporate.

That’s troubling, like getting-the-call-your-parents-are-coming-home-early-and-you-haven’t-had-time-to-clean-up-after-the-massive-shaker-you-threw-last-night troubling.

The fact that Sami Salo had to leave the game after injuring his shoulder on a blast that led to the game’s first goal – for the record only Salo could injure himself by scoring – is part of the reason the Canucks allowed the Blackhawks back into this affair, but it doesn’t account for five goals.

“In the playoffs you hope that if you’re up 3-0 or 2-0 you should be a little bit tighter defensively,” said Henrik Sedin, who had a goal and an assist but was minus-3.

“But they are really an extremely skilled team and we know it’s going to be these kinds of games. Our power play worked really well tonight. If you score two or three on the power play you should win games.”

The Canucks finished 3-for-7 on the power play, which, as Henrik pointed out, usually is a recipe for success as this was the first time Vancouver scored a power play goal against Chicago this season and didn’t walk away with the win.

With continued pressure on the power play and simply a better overall effort in Game 3, Vancouver will have Chicago reciting that all good things come to an end with their winning streak halted at one.

The Canucks flew out of the gates and had two power play goals on the board before the Blackhawks had the smelling salts down from their noses.

Vancouver then proceeded to test Nikolai Khabibulin with only four more shots in the first and only five more in the second. The Canucks threw another 10 his way in the third scoring on one attempt, but it was way too little, way too late.

No Canuck forward was especially dangerous on this night, and with two goals coming from defencemen, the forwards didn't do much overall.

The Canucks were outshot by the Blackhawks 32-21.

Sami Salo left the game after scoring the game's opening goal, apparently he's too strong for his own good. Either way, Vancouver's five remaining defencemen were left to pick up the slack, which Mattias Ohlund and Kevin Bieksa did. They combined for 52:06 of ice time.

Vancouver finished 3-for-7 on the power play, Chicago converted one of eight attempts.

The Canucks were once again lethal on the penalty kill and great on the power play, it's all the time they played 5-on-5 that hurt them.

2 – Blown leads in the last two games

1 Loss for the Canucks in the playoffs when opening the scoring

2 – Assists for Mats Sundin, he now has four points in four games

–  Hits dished out in Game 2, Vancouver led 21-20

26 Saves for Roberto Luongo, who gave up five goals in regulation for the first time since October

"We’ve got to start right away tomorrow refocusing and make sure that once we get to Chicago we play the type of game that we want to play."

-Roberto Luongo

“I think it’s a group, you win and lose as a team. Up until this game I think we’ve done a pretty good job of winning and losing as a team."

-Mats Sundin

"In the playoffs you hope that if you’re up 3-0 or 2-0 you should be a little bit tighter defensively."

-Henrik Sedin

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