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Chicago vs Vancouver: Where was the venom?

May 2, 2010

Prior to the start of yesterday’s Round 2 series opener between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks all the talk was about the possible recurrence of the bad blood that occurred in last year’s playoffs.  Both teams were deemed to be on a par, with both starting slowly in their first series and coming on strong to win. Expectations for the series opener were those of high energy levels and a certain amount of vindictiveness.  Unfortunately for ‘Hawks fans, the game did not live up to the hype.

Early on and at home, the young ‘Hawks stars were flying with several good chances, included a thwarted breakaway by Patrick Kane. The Canucks countered with stellar goaltending from their captain, Roberto Luongo, who was looking to put behind him whispers that he couldn’t deliver during the playoffs.  Vancouver staved off the early pressure, including a couple of early penalties, and ended the first period with a two goal lead.

The second period, in fact the rest of the game, showed none of the hyped up vitriol that was supposed to overflow from previous meetings.  None of the next 3 Canuck goals were particularly weak, but the ‘Hawks seemed to have no answer for the Canuck offence.  All three lines were flowing, scoring and hitting.

The ‘Hawks then turned to backup Cristobal Huet for the third period and despite several power plays, were only able to solve the Canucks ‘minder once.  By the time the game was over the Canucks had the opening game in their pocket and the ‘Hawks had a minor goaltending controversy to handle.  A 5-1 definitive and passive loss was not what the Chicago faithful had in mind and they showed it with the choruses of boos rained down on their team.

Game 2 is on Monday and the Blackhawks had better hope that they carry the trend of their first round series with them and come back with a strong game from their young guns and rookie goaltender because Vancouver seems to have picked up where they left off from their first round and Luongo is starting to look like his all-star self.

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