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.