Scroll down the main page to see period by period details of Game 7.
Corey Crawford was phenomenal and the only reason this game was ever close. One incredible, determined individual short-handed effort by Blackhawk captain Jonathan Toews miraculously extended this game to overtime with less than two minutes to play in regulation. Roberto Luongo made a lot of good saves (31 in all), but also gave a bunch of rebounds. This happened to be one his teammates in front of him didn’t get to first, a rarity on Tuesday night.
Game 7 lived up to the hype and then some. Vancouver dominated, then flirted with disaster, the Hawks hung in there but the better team definitely won in the end.
Alex Burrows scored both Vancouver goals. On top of those, he was also awarded a penalty shot 21 seconds into the third period off a Duncan Keith tripping infraction but was stopped by Crawford. A score at that time would have put the Canucks up two goals.
Toews’ short-handed tally was his lone goal of the series (1g, 3a, -4, a team-worst plus/minus). Crawford allowed 16 goals in the series, finishing with a .927 save percentage and 2.21 goals against average.
After losing the first three games of the series, the Blackhawks made a valiant comeback in attempt to pull off the upset. Sure, the pressure was off by Game 4, and Alain Vigneault’s Canucks took their double foot-stomp off the gas mid-series, but the defending champions showed their character and would not go quietly. In the end, this amounted to one great series.
Vancouver now moves on to face Nashville in Round 2. San Jose will matchup with Detroit. The Western Conference obviously will have a new Finals representative this year. Detroit will attempt to make their 3rd Finals appearance in four years. Vancouver has been there twice (’82+’94) before. San Jose and Nashville have never been. For the Predators, this is their first time advancing past the first round.
NHL.com Game 7 highlights after the jump
Overtime lasted 5 minutes and 22 seconds. The Canucks persevere and advance past the Blackhawks on an Alexandre Burrows’ bullet after a turnover at the Hawks’ blue line.
Vancouver survived an early scare when Burrows went to the penalty box 24 seconds into overtime for holding Duncan Keith. The ‘Hawks managed just one shot during those following two minutes up 5-on-4 and then the play belonged to the Canucks for the eventual final three minutes.
The game and the Blackhawks season ended when Chris Campoli failed to clear a puck up the left side wall inside the Hawks’ zone. Campoli tried to clear a bouncing puck but Jonathan Toews was kneeling on the ice ten feet in front of Campoli near the boards inside the blue line so it appeared Campoli chose to clear the puck up and over Toews instead of along the boards where Toews was prone. But unfortunately for Campoli and the Hawks, Burrows gloved the puck down and broke clear towards Crawford and Burrows fired a bomb clear by the Hawks’ netminder.
Vancouver wins the game 2-1 and the finishes the Blackhawks season 5:22 in to overtime of Game 7.
The Canucks now move on to meet Nashville in the second round. Which means San Jose and Detroit will meet once again in the Western Conference Semi-finals.
Burrows had both Vancouver goals. He also had a goal, his only other of the series, in Chicago in Game 6. In 40 career playoff games, Burrows now has 10 goals and 17 points. He finished with 3 goals and 3 assists in the series. Five of those points came in games six and seven.
Burrows, Luongo and Crawford, in that order (1-3) were named the stars of the game. Crawford had to be much better than Luongo tonight but its hard to argue those given the outcome. Just a fabulous performance by Corey Crawford to keep the Hawks in a game they really had no business being in.
Luongo made 31 saves to Crawford’s 36.
Both teams went 0-2 in four minutes of power play time a side. Although the Hawks did strike with the shorty to tie the game late in regulation with Duncan Keith in the penalty box.
Another terrific game surrounded by high drama that goes beyond your typical Game 7 hype. Luongo and the Canucks finally solve the Blackhawks. Given where this series was after Game 3, it is a minor miracle there was even a seventh game, but you Canucks’ fans have Alain Vigneault’s bench management in game 4 for that.
That Blackhawks leading goal scorer in the series was Duncan Keith (4), followed by Sharp (3) and Ben Smith (3). Toews’ lone tally was the big short-handed one in this one. Hossa’s two goals in Game 5 were huge in the Hawks’ 5-0 rout to close the series’ gap to 3-2 but he was largely invisible the rest of the series. Patrick Kane (1g, 5a), Michael Frolik (2g, 3a) and Dave Bolland (2g, 4a) were the other major point scorers.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing about quite a few injuries on the Hawks’ side in the next couple of days. Sure, they were a factor but its also highly probable that Vancouver is dealing with injuries as well. Had Dave Bolland been healthy from the start of the series the outcome may have been different, or it may not have. Vancouver was clearly the better team in five of the seven games and its no injustice that they’re moving on. The Canucks’ regular season record was no joke. They were the more consistent and potent team in every aspect during the regular season as they were here in this series. The Blackhawks could have easily checked out in Games 4 or 5, but they didn’t. A few players had coming of age type moments in this series; namely Michael Frolik and Ben Smith. The Hawks pushed back when they could have folded; they responded with character, like champions, albeit wounded, over-matched former champions.
Many decisions lie ahead in the coming months and there should be some different faces on the team next year. The regular season cannot be ignored, but given this team’s body of work and the challenge it faced in the opening round, and where the team stood in this series nine days ago, no one should say this season ended on a sour note.
The Blackhawks battled hard but they weren’t good enough. Not this year.
Why not? I guess Canucks fans will truly never suffer enough.
After a mostly dominant game, the Canucks get both a penalty shot opportunity and a late 3rd period power play (with Duncan Keith the Hawk going into the box) and not only did the Canucks not put the game away, but they surrendered a short-handed goal to tie the game and extended it to overtime.
Jonathan Toews with an amazing individual effort to beat two checks carrying the puck to the goal after a Canucks neutral zone giveaway. The sequence started with Toews losing a neutral zone draw to Chris Higgins. Toews got the puck from Seabrook and drove hard towards Luongo, dishing to Marian Hossa whose shot was stopped, but rebounded to a falling Toews for the put-in.
Duncan Keith’s attempt to stop an Alex Burrows breakaway on the opening shift of the period resulted in a Burrows penalty shot that Crawford stopped. Burrows also drew the late period hook that sent Keith to the box for the Vancouver power play that the Blackhawks’ captain turned the tables on.
Corey Crawford has been nothing short of incredible. He’s stopped 34 of 35 shots he’s faced. 12 of those coming in the third period.
Chicago really has no business extending this game to overtime. A fact the Rogers Arena crowd recognizes as they went eerily silent after the Hawks’ short-handed goal and the Canucks inability to respond afterwards. Some anxious moments ahead in Vancouver.
Shots going into OT are 35-31 in Vancouver’s favor. The Canucks are outhitting Chicago 40-17.
The Blackhawks have yet another life in this series. The Canucks mentally must be reeling.
Second period was all Corey Crawford. This game could easily be 3-0 at this point. Crawford stopped 15 Vancouver shots in all to keep the score 1-0 through forty minutes. His biggest save was one he absolutely needed to make after turning the puck over behind his goal. With the Hawks on the power play (Jannik Hansen in the box for tripping Sharp), Crawford was trying to ease a dump in to a retreating Duncan Keith. Keith was being hounded by Mason Raymond and Crawford didn’t lay the puck out far enough behind the goal for Keith and Keith overskated it and Raymond had an easy takeaway. Keith really had no chance on the play. Raymond then moved out front but Crawford turned his chance away.
Crawford’s two other huge stops came 39 seconds apart, both on Henrik Sedin, the second a goal line stand with a little help from Marcus Kruger who has been good in his role tonight.
The Blackhawks appeared gassed by the end of the period. Vancouver didn’t let up at all coming out for the second, continuing to put the heat on Chicago in all zones. The Hawks defense have little time and space in the offensive zone and the Canucks are effectively clearing their zone. The Canucks appear to be tireless.
Vancouver continues to out hit the Hawks, 13-7 in the second period and out shot Chicago as well, 15-6 and 23-18 now overall in the game.
The Rogers Arena is reacting vociferously to every perceived non-call, with an obvious slant towards the home team. Not unexpectedly the officials are trying to stay out of this game and a very reluctant to call anything. That said, there’s been no rhyme or reason to the two penalties they have called, versus what they’ve let go. Still, it has the feeling each team will get a power play opportunity in the third period.
Marian Hossa had a nice steal in the Cancucks’ zone seven minutes into the second, but aside from that, he’s been laregly invisible tonight. Jonathan Toews was better in the circle that period and is everywhere but he’s missing a gear as has been the case most of the series.
Coming into the game, for those who have followed the Hawks all year long, the very least you wanted to see was another strong Crawford performance. So far they’ve seen it. Crawford is main reason Chicago even made the playoffs and its a crime he wasn’t one of the Calder trophy (rookie of the year) finalists. The worst thing that could happen at this point would be for Crawford to wind up being the game 7 goat. Through two, Crawford’s again been the Hawks best player by a wide margin.
Twenty minutes to go in regulation. Game 7. Vancouver leads 1-0.
As expected, both teams came out flying early. Vancouver had a lot of jump and more speed than the Hawks, who were on their heels by the end of the opening period.
Alex Burrows put Vancouver on the board first, for the only goal of the period. Ryan Kesler got a pass from Mason Raymond at the Chicago blue line and drove tight and hard wide around Duncan Keith, who went for the bump and stopped moving his feet. Kesler held to the goal line selling the stuff attempt before backhanding a pass into the low slot to the oncoming Burrows. Corey Crawford had no chance. Nick Leddy was in front but unable to stop the pass. Burrows did a good job a leaving himself proper separation space as Leddy was where he needed to be.
Vancouver reverted back to the pace they set in games 1-3 of the series. The Canucks were credited with 13 hits, to the Blackhawks’ 3. Keep in mind these are Vancouver’s hometown official scorers. The United Center is home to some pretty liberal stat keepers itself, but the Canucks were the decidedly more physical team in the opening twenty.
Joel Quenneville’s lines started out:
Viktor Stalberg – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane
Ben Smith – Patrick Sharp – Marian Hossa
Troy Brouwer – Dave Bolland – Michael Frolik
Marcus Kruger – Ryan Johnson – Fernando Pisani
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Brian Campbell
Duncan Keith – Nick Leddy
Chris Campoli – Brent Seabrook
By the midway point of the period, Smith had moved up to the Toews line and Stalberg to the Sharp-Hossa line. The fourth line had a really nice shift, pinning the Canucks deep for a good 30 seconds cycling and winning the battles along the walls. Pisani was brings up the rear as far as ice time so far (2:11, 3 shifts) which is already 2x the amount of ice time the guy he’s replacing, John Scott, had in a 75 minute game 6. Seabrook and Keith are together at times too. Keith, and the tandem of Hjalmarsson and Campbell are the ice time leaders. Probably Campbell’s best period of the series. Hawks have been poised under intense pressure.
Vancouver is killing the Hawks in the face off circle. 65% to 35%. Toews is 0-3 vs Henrik Sedin and 1-3 vs Ryan Kesler. Sharp is 3-4 vs Sedin. Bolland is 2 for 7 overall.
Hawks held the shot advantage 12 to 8. Luongo has been sharp early. The Rogers Arena let out one big collective sigh of relief when Luongo stopped his first shot early, a long wrister from Frolik.
The officials are letting a lot go, but Brent Seabrook managed to get called for cross-checking at 16:21 to give the Canucks the only power play so far. Vancouver picked up 3 shots during the man advantage and several other close attempts as they were all over the Hawks in those two minutes.
Despite the Vancouver goal the Blackhawks hold a 14-10 goal advantage at 5 on 5 play in this series. Granted, the differential was created in two Chicago blowouts, but that’s something to be encouraged by if the referees keep the whistles in their pockets as you’d expect in a game 7.
“Well you can tell by the way I use my walk,
I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk,
Music loud, and women warm,
I’ve been knocked around since I was born…” – The Bee Gee’s
Warning: The following piece may contain disagreeable and highly objectionable material to those offended by the pulsating sounds of “Disco Music.” If you were in attendance at Comiskey Park on July 12, 1979 for Steve Dahl’s infamous “Disco Demolition Night,” I urge you not to read this. That was the night Dahl and his “Insane Coho Lips Anti-Disco Army” demolished the field in between a double header with the Detroit Tigers. I realize most hockey fans would not have been caught dead in a disco. And I risk being physically beaten if they read this and spot me at the United Center; but in my mind the Bee Gee’s song Staying Alive perfectly describes the Blackhawks’ pulsating season. (On a side note – tell me some of you macho men wearing Bob Probert jerseys did not practice some of Travolta moves in the shower. You know who you are.)
Incredible hockey game. A punch, counter-punch type affair but in the end the Blackhawks had a horseshoe in their back pocket.
Corey Schneider was a late surprise starter for Alain Vigneault. Schneider did pretty well until two and a half minutes into the third period when he pulled a muscle while attempting to stop Michael Frolik’s penalty shot score. That tied the game 3-3 after Kevin Bieksa put the Canucks up 3-2 a minute into the third frame. Roberto Luongo was sharp in relief, stopping 12 Hawks shots, 10 in overtime, until the Niklas Hjalmarsson shot Luongo seemed surprised by rebounded to overtime hero Ben Smith. Marian Hossa made the game-winner happen but it was the line of Bolland-Bickell and Frolik that carried Chicago as they did in Game 4.
In a scene straight out of the parallel universe, a huge Dave Bolland check behind the Vancouver net led to Bryan Bickell’s goal, tying the game 1-1 late in the first. Bolland struck a lucky puck twenty minutes later to answer Alex Burrows’ lead-taking tally after Corey Schneider coughed the puck up to Patrick Kane behind his goal.
Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows (first goal and second point of the series for him) were the other Vancouver scorers. Sedin was first to the scoresheet, putting the Nucks up 1-0 early in the game after a horrible defensive play by Niklas Hjalmarsson. A nice 25-foot wrister by Burrows beat Corey Crawford’s right pad from the slot.
In this game, the Blackhawks blew a minute and forty-three second 5 on 3 man advantage and went scoreless in 6:17 of power play time overall; Patrick Kane blundered a clear breakaway straight out of the penalty box and the ‘Hawks played the 75-minute game a man-short (John Scott dressed and skated less than a minute; coach’s decision).
Go figure. Vancouver played a great road game and still lost. Luck probably runs out for the Hawks in Vancouver. Or, maybe not. Doesn’t matter. The hockey was great. Vancouver’s still the better team and capable of raising their game a notch. But the Hawks have better big-game performers. Chicago can’t play the no-pressure card anymore. They’ve won 3 in a row, have the Canucks on the ropes, play very well in Vancouver and have the Canucks’ number historically. Everyone is anticipating Vancouver to choke and they’ll need a Vezina-like performance from a supposedly ailing Roberto Luongo to win Game 7. Should be fun.
Game 7 Tuesday night in Vancouver. Game time is now listed as 9pm central/7 pacific. Versus broadcast nationally, ComcastSportsNet in Chicago. Since the Chicago Bulls game Tuesday night starts at 7pm and is likely to run until around 9:30, the beginning of the Hawks-Canucks game will be shown on CSN-Plus.
“I felt like it had really good stretches and then there (were) times I would just … I don’t want to say … lose focus, but just was not really … interested for whatever reason.” Duncan Keith, 4/22/2011
Duncan Keith finally came clean Friday afternoon. He admitted what many have speculated, and Keith’s on-ice performance suggested most of the 2010-11 season.
The Blackhawks top defenseman and highest-paid player in franchise history admitted his game suffered through stretches when Keith told reporters upon arriving at O’Hare airport on Friday that he wasn’t “interested for whatever reason” at points during this season. Keith also said he wasn’t excited coming into the season, which he blamed on a short summer.
2010-11 was the first year of 13-year contract extension Duncan Keith signed in December of 2009. He was paid $8 million this season, a 420% raise off his prior year salary, and will make another $64M over the next twelve seasons. Keith will earn an average of $7.75M for the next five years, through the 2015-16 season. Because his deal in heavily frontloaded, Keith’s cap hit (total dollar value divided by term) is $5.538M per season.
Two writers on the scene, Brian Hedger of NHL.com and ESPNChicago’s Jesse Rogers got the story and have the full quotes. Incredibly, at least as of this writing, the story also appears on the Blackhawks official web site. But here are the meat and potatoes of Keith’s confession from Hedger’s article.