Two days ago, we discussed the Chicago Blackhawks tying a 2009 Stanley Cup playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks. Today, we’re going to discuss the Chicago Blackhawks tying a 2009 Stanley Cup playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks … but at one game apiece instead of two.
This game was far different from the one that would take place five days later, however. The scoring wasn’t so controlled, and neither were players’ emotions. The scorebooks were full after this game, is what I’m saying. And it makes for a higher entry on our list of most memorable Blackhawks playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville.
Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.
No. 26: 2009 Western Conference semifinals, Game 2
Chicago Blackhawks 6, Vancouver Canucks 3
There was one thing that wound up being similar between this game and Game 4 of the same series: The Canucks jumped out to a lead to open the scoring. And just like in Game 4, it wouldn’t matter in the end.
Less than six minutes in, Vancouver got rolling with a pretty golden scoring chance with Niklas Hjalmarsson in the box for a delay-of-game penalty. Henrik Sedin had the puck in the corner and sent it out to defenseman Sami Salo above the circles. Salo had way too much time to shoot, and he wound up an absolute howitzer of a shot. It ended up beating Nikolai Khabibulin high, and the Rogers Arena crowd was thrilled.
They’d be even more excited just over a minute later. In that short period of time, Ben Eager (roughing) and Duncan Keith (slashing) had been sent off for penalties, while Adam Burish and Rick Rypien had received 10-minute misconducts. Out of it all, the Canucks had a 5-on-3. They passed it around to one another until Alexander Edler let one rip from just above the circles, sending it through traffic and past Khabibulin for a 2-0 Vancouver lead.
Da Windy City
It would mark the last Canucks goal in this game until there were less than three minutes remaining in the contest. A lot happened between these two points of time.
Vancouver committed a pair of penalties before time wound down in the first, but no more scoring occurred. The penalty-minutes ledger sat at 30 through 20 minutes of play.
Things almost got really ugly when Alexandre Burrows got behind the Blackhawks defense with Brent Seabrook in the box just a couple minutes into the second, but Khabibulin turned away the semi-breakaway bid. Chicago could have responded sooner, but Roberto Luongo made a very slick save about halfway through the frame.
The play on which Luongo’s save happened looked simple in nature, as Troy Brouwer carried the puck up the boards to Luongo’s left and fired a wrister on net. Luongo, however, gave up a huge rebound to the other side of the ice, and Eager was the only one in the vicinity. He fired the rebound on net, and Luongo sprawled across and got his stick on the shot, sending it back behind the net. (I’d post a screenshot, but the video quality for this highlight package is poor, at best.)
The TV crew calling the game gave Luongo ample praise after the latest save, saying he was locked in and going to be hard to beat. The Blackhawks might’ve heard this, because they turned on the offensive jets after that save.
Defenseman Matt Walker got it started along the boards near the blue line about a minute after Luongo’s stop. He just hammered the puck at the net, hoping for the best. With as much traffic in front of Luongo as their was, the goaltender couldn’t settle the puck. Patrick Sharp wound up smacking it home as Burish fell on top of Bobby Lu, but the goal stood and pulled the Blackhawks to within one.
Then, the Blackhawks received a 5-on-3 powerplay after Kevin Bieksa (hooking) and Willie Mitchell (delay of game) committed penalties. Just like Vancouver did in the first period, the Blackhawks passed it around until Sharp had it above the circles (in the same spot as Edler before him). Sharp bombed a shot on net and got it through everyone, tying the game and giving Sharp his second goal of the night.
And then, everyone’s favorite short-handed specialist got in his licks. With Patrick Kane in the box for hooking with less than four minutes to go in the second, Keith sent the puck from Chicago’s defensive zone with a high, arching clear. Dave Bolland was sitting all alone at the Vancouver blue line, and the puck fell right to him. Bolland skated in tight on Luongo and outwaited him, sliding the puck into the twine for a shorthanded tally and a 3-2 Blackhawks edge. It was Chicago’s first lead of the series to this point.
Let’s check in on the penalty-minutes ledger: only 10 minutes in that frame. So we’re up to 40 for 40 minutes of action.
Chicago’s grinders would give the Blackhawks their fourth goal early in the third period. Burish blew into the offensive zone with the puck and was pushed away from the net by Edler, but Burish wouldn’t quit on the play. He cut back toward Luongo ever so slightly as he was heading behind the net, sending the puck to Eager, who was crashing the net. Eager had his stick on the ice and managed to tip the puck over Luongo, after which the Blackhawks had a 4-2 lead and some sort of funeral music started playing in the arena.
Rypien had a great chance to pull the Canucks back within one a short time later, picking up a rebound alongside Khabibulin while the goaltender was struggling to move from side to side. But Rypien, known more for his gritty play than goal scoring, sent a backhander wide of the net.
So instead of being a one-goal game, the Blackhawks turned it into a three-goal contest. A few minutes after Rypien’s chance, Brouwer, Jonathan Toews and Kane were below or at the circle to Luongo’s right. Brouwer took the puck from Kane, who was getting pressed into the boards, and chipped it to Toews. With the Canucks’ attention turned to Brouwer and Toews, the captain sent the puck back to Kane, and he had an empty lane through which to attack Luongo. Getting in tight on the goaltender, Kane sent one under his pads and into the net to push the lead to 5-2.
Sharp almost netted a hat trick later in the frame but had his backhander stopped in the crease by Luongo and Mitchell.
Henrik Sedin made things a little tighter with Vancouver’s second 5-on-3 goal of the night at the 17:15 mark of the third, but Bolland quickly responded with a backhander from center ice that went straight into an empty net to create the final tally.
We didn’t talk too much about penalties in that period, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. We were at 40 penalty minutes through the first two periods … and we wound up with 102 penalty minutes total. What happened?
That happened. (Screenshot from hockey-reference.com)
Those large roughing penalty totals are likely combined misconducts and minor penalties, but clearly these teams had something to get off their chest as the score got more lopsided. You might recall the teams had a line brawl close to a month before this series began.
But it didn’t matter for the Blackhawks, as they won the game and tied the series. They’d need to tie the series once more but eventually dispatched the Canucks in the playoffs for the first of two times (so far) in the Q era.
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