BLACKHAWKS at CANUCKS
(Vancouver leads best-of-seven series, 1-0)
TV: CBC (HD), VERSUS (HD), RDS (HD), CSN-CH (HD)
Big Story --
History suggests a 1-0 lead for the Canucks over the Blackhawks doesn't really matter. Vancouver won Game 1 in both of its previous playoff series against Chicago (2009, 2010) only to lose each time in six games. However, the Canucks appear to be the deeper team this time around and they clearly came out in Game 1 with a mission to be physical on the Hawks in order to let their depth come into play. Vancouver was a dominant team in the first period and it was good enough to win 2-0 behind a stellar performance from Roberto Luongo
. Now it's up to Chicago to hit back.
They say they weren't surprised by how physical the Canucks were early in Game 1, but the Blackhawks also admit they didn't start dishing back until they were already down by a pair of goals. Vancouver was credited with 20 hits in the first 20 minutes -- that's just one less than its average per 60 minutes in the regular season.
"Physically (we were) way below average," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We were taking it across the board. That's how we have to deliver it back."
The Blackhawks also know they have to figure out a way to frustrate Luongo, who was flawless in a 32-save effort Wednesday. Luongo had to come up with some magical saves, such as the one with his right toe on Brian Campbell late in the first period, but the Blackhawks don't think they did enough to get in his way, shield his vision.
One of the more remarkable things about the Canucks in Game 1 was their ability to just roll their four lines and three defensive pairs out there and not worry about matchups. That's exactly what they did in the regular season and it helped them produce a franchise-best 117 points. Vancouver's depth is so good that the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, were kept off the scoreboard and it was barely even mentioned in the aftermath of their 2-0 win. In the past against the Blackhawks, when Henrik and Daniel were held in check, it was a major story.
Vancouver's second line of Ryan Kesler
, Mikael Samuelsson
and Christopher Higgins
combined for a goal and 2 assists while Jannik Hansen
also scored a breakaway goal and Kevin Bieksa
had an assist. The Canucks' fourth line of Maxim Lapierre
, Tanner Glass and Victor Oreskovich
led the physical charge along with Sami Salo
and Alexander Edler
. Lapierre had a game-high eight hits.
"I want to keep my game simple, be physical and that's it," Lapierre said. "I like that type of game. There's a lot of emotion and that's a huge part of my game."
Who's Hot --
Luongo recorded his second career playoff shutout in Game 1 with 32 saves, including 25 over the final 40 minutes. Higgins, Samuelsson, Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis
were each plus-2. Higgins and Hansen had the goals for the Canucks.
Injury Report --
Blackhawks forward Tomas Kopecky is doubtful with an upper-body injury he suffered in the first period Wednesday. Kopecky never returned to the game. Chicago center Dave Bolland
is still out with his concussion. … The Canucks are healthy save for Manny Malhotra
, who is out for the season after having eye surgery.
Stat Pack --
Luongo ran his record against Chicago in the playoffs to 5-8 and his overall playoff record to 18-17 with the win in Game 1. … The Blackhawks had six players make their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts in Game 1 while the Canucks had just three. Cody Hodgson
was one of the Canucks making his debut and he had three shots and one hit in only 7:38 of ice time. … Five Blackhawks registered more ice time than the Canucks leader in Game 1. Duncan Keith
led all players with a game-high 27:30 of ice time. Hamhuis led the Canucks with 22:31.
Puck Drop --
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was asked during his press conference if his team will take what it learned from its previous two Game 2s against the Blackhawks and try to avoid the same pitfalls. Vancouver blew leads in both games, starting a downward spiral that would see them lose both series' in six games.
"That's last year and the year before," "Vigneault said. "(Friday) we're going to take it one shift at a time, and we're going to take it one period at a time and that's not going to change.
"That's great stuff for your notebook there."