Hey, didn’t we just talk about these guys? Apparently it’s not only the Minnesota Wild who can be part of back-to-back posts in this countdown of top Chicago Blackhawks playoff wins under Joel Quenneville.
Yes, we get more of the then-hated Vancouver Canucks, and we get another high-scoring affair. But this one was before the first salary-cap purge, and before the Blackhawks had broken their 49-year Stanley Cup drought.
Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.
No. 40: 2010 Western Conference semifinals, Game 4
Chicago Blackhawks 7, Vancouver Canucks 4
This is just a very odd game to look back at, from a statistical standpoint. Though it shouldn’t be surprising this many goals were scored, as the Blackhawks were coming off consecutive wins in the series by a combined score of 9-4, and Vancouver took the opening tilt 5-1. These two teams had the firepower, and it’d clash in a big way in Game 4.
But what’s odd about the stats from this one is the man-advantage success. Twelve minor penalties were called in this game — eight against the Canucks (shocking), four against the Blackhawks — and six powerplay goals would be tallied, including four (!) by Chicago. How many times in recent years have we been thrilled when the Blackhawks scored one powerplay goal?
This game would get rolling real quick, as Jonathan Toews won a board battle and found Brent Seabrook pinching in right between the circles. Essentially undetected, Seabrook had all day to wire a shot past Roberto Luongo just 18 seconds into the game. Luongo’s look after the goal tells it all. He’s probably just glad they weren’t at the United Center.
I miss Florida. (Screenshot from YouTube)
The Canucks would wait all of 1:16 to tie this thing up. After an offensive-zone faceoff win, noted awful player Kevin Bieksa (good luck with that, Anaheim) ripped a shot well wide of Antti Niemi. But Seabrook was stripped of his clearing attempt by Mikael Samuelsson, who showed some real veteran smarts afterward by just firing the puck high into traffic in front of Niemi. It’d wind up bounding off Kyle Wellwood and throw Niemi’s legs to even the score.
Da Windy City
After Shane O’Brien‘s second cross-checking penalty of the first period, Toews won a draw back to Patrick Sharp at the point. He passed it to Patrick Kane along the wall, who showed great vision by finding Toews in a pocket just above the circles. He snapped a shot just under the crossbar and past Luongo, who was screen heavily by Dustin Byfuglien (recurring theme), to put the Blackhawks ahead again about halfway through the frame.
That lead would at least last more than five minutes. Though just barely. Toews would go off for a high-sticking penalty with less than eight minutes to go in the first, and the Canucks would make him pay. Following a failed pass from Henrik Sedin to Daniel Sedin, the puck trickled to center ice and was recovered by Daniel. He gave it to Alexandre Burrows, who streaked back into the zone and crashed the net with a backhander. Niemi allowed a rebound, and no one was able to get a check on Daniel coming back into the zone. His backhander would beat Niemi, and we were tied again.
Vancouver almost went up a goal shortly after, when Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen had Brian Campbell and Jordan Hendry, respectively, beaten back toward Niemi. Raymond held the puck until he was almost completely below the circles, then sent it cross-ice for Hansen. But Hendry made a simple poke check from behind to completely disrupt the play.
One more big play happened in the first period, and it’d lead to a Chicago goal later. Christian Ehrhoff rang a shot off the post with less than a minute to go, and Andrew Ladd would eventually take it the other one in a 1-on-1 situation with Sami Salo. A fierce battle heading toward Luongo saw Salo commit a holding penalty.
Starting the second period on a shortened powerplay, the Blackhawks would capitalize after Duncan Keith lasered the puck into the offensive zone behind Luongo. It rolled around the boards toward Ryan Kesler, who … proceeded to assist on a Chicago goal. Kesler was being pressured by Byfuglien, resulting in the puck ricocheting off Kesler’s stick right to Toews in front. With a simple redirection of the accidental pass, the captain beat Luongo to give Chicago a lead for the third time.
The closest he’ll ever get to helping a team win a Stanley Cup. (Screenshot from YouTube)
Niemi turned away a breakaway bid from Hansen and a Vancouver powerplay before the Canucks started another parade to the penalty box. With Daniel locked up for interference, the Blackhawks powerplay went to work once more. This time, Kane fired a shot from along the boards above the circle to Luongo’s left, and after a mad scramble in front, Sharp put home the rebound for 4-2 lead.
The Canucks made things even worse for themselves with penalties on Daniel (cross-checking) and Burrows (roughing) to give the Blackhawks a 5-on-3 not long after their fourth goal. Dave Bolland waited what felt like an eternity at the dot to Luongo’s right, then slapped a pass to Toews, who was right in the middle of a triangle of Canucks penalty killers. Toews received the pass and smashed it over Luongo’s shoulder in one smooth motion for a 5-2 Blackhawks lead, a hat trick and a fourth Chicago powerplay goal.
That No. 19 guy probably doesn’t need watching. (Screenshot from YouTube)
Toews was barely denied his fourth goal of the night on a powerplay wraparound attempt early in the third period. Luongo made one of his better moves of the night on this play, stretching out to get a toe on the shot. But the Blackhawks just kept pouring it on. At the conclusion of a powerplay, Sharp gave the puck to Hossa for a shot that Luongo turned aside. But the rebound went right to Tomas Kopecky, who had most of the net to shoot at and didn’t miss. He put Chicago up 6-3 and made Luongo take a nap in the process.
Sorry, Bobby. It’s not a dream. (Screenshot from YouTube)
The Canucks tried to stay alive with a late goal, as Burrows fed Henrik in front of Niemi for Vancouver’s fourth goal with about five minutes to go. But Bolland put this one away with an empty-net goal from inside his blue line with less than a minute to go.
The Blackhawks took a commanding 3-1 series lead after this win, though they waited until they were back in Vancouver to clinch the series. I’d like to assume it wound up that way because that’s what they wanted to do.
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