SO LONG, STINKTOWN!: Hawks 5, Vancouver 1
Now this is the Blackhawk team I remember. This looked like the team that stormed through December and January, playing suffocating defense and scoring at will. It was the Hawks best team game of the playoffs so far, and if they can sustain this type of effort for the rest of the playoffs, look out.
I guess this is where I'm supposed to be magnanimous. Supposed to compliment the Canucks on a gritty effort, for a battle well fought.
I'll do nothing of the sort. The Vancouver Canucks are a pain in the ass. I don't like them, I don't respect them, and I sure as fuck won't miss them. If the players aren't bitching at each other in the press, their coach is complaining about the refs, or their fans and papers are crying about the Hawks disrespecting them by packing their stuff for San Jose so they could fly to California if they won the game. All this from a team that set up their Stanley Cup parade route back in August. Guess they can put that one back in the filing cabinet for another year.
The Canucks and their fans can wonder what might have been. They certainly had their chances to take control of the series, and like any playoff series, a few bounces either way could have changed everything. But that's for them to worry about, the Chicago Blackhawks have more important matters to attend to.
Team Defense - this was the team I remember from December. Swarming to loose pucks, getting a body or a stick on every man, fighting to clear loose rebounds; terrific effort.
Dave Bolland - I've been rough on Bolland during the playoffs, but he was excellent tonight. Bolland and his line were spent the night rendering the Sedin twins invisible, and still managed a short handed goal to close out the second period.
Dustin Byfuglien - Buff was a force tonight. No doubt about it, when Dustin Byfuglien brings his physical game, he's a top line forward. Tonight was all over the ice again, knocking out Vancouver defensemen with hits, and driving a dagger into the heart of the Canucks with the Hawks 5th goal.
Packing for San Jose - Good thing the team had the foresight to do this. BECAUSE THEY KNEW THEY WERE GOING TO WIN, VANCOUVER!
Well, there was bad, mostly from the usual suspects. Jordan Hendry got a little too much ice time for my liking, and Troy Brouwer was terrible to open the game, but finally settled down after scoring the Hawks first goal. But the Hawks finished the series, and that's all that matters at this point.
Roberto Luongo - Lungo gave up another crooked number in a playoff game against the Hawks. Granted, the final two goals were the result of necessary gambles by the Canucks defense, but if you're going to claim the title of the Greatest Goaltender in the World, you've got to carry your team in those spots. Luongo didn't, and his team is finished.