What a letdown. Jonathan Toews' short-handed goal with less than three minutes left and Alexandre Burrows' penalty in overtime set the stage for a collapse that would have been etched in the hearts and minds of every Canuck fan for generations to come. The fact that the Canucks had dominated the last half of the game would have only made the emotional trauma that much . Instead, Roberto Luongo came through with a nice positional save on Patrick Sharp, and Burrows went from goat to hero with the overtime winner a few minutes later. From that point on it was pure jubilation, and it was an odd thing to watch. I mean, we're talking about the first round of the playoffs here, and old Bobby Lu is saying things like, "I'm feeling better than the gold medal game right now." Now, I'm not saying that to dump on the guy since that really is how he was feeling, but that kind of joy at winning just isn't the norm for a first seed conquering a first round foe. This was a special series. Scoring chances and more after the jump.
For those who'd like a definition: a scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots, though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score. Finally, a big thanks to Vic Ferrari for making the whole damn thing possible with his awesome scripts.
|Period||Chi / Van
||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Note: the script measured the wrong players in overtime, but I altered the player charts so that those totals are (as) correct (as the NHL play-by-play), but the first chart with the chance times lists the wrong players on the ice in OT.
As I mentioned in the opening, Vancouver just plain dominated the second half of this game. With seven minutes to go in the second period, the chances were 10-8 for the Canucks; from that point to the end of the game, the chances were 21-6 Vancouver. Fully three of Chicago's chances came at evens. The Vancouver Canucks plain deserved to win.
The Children of God
3. Ryan Kesler - This was definitely his best game of the series, and his line was the biggest reason that the Canucks outchanced the way they did. In almost every game, Jonathan Toews' line was able to create chances for the Hawks, but in this one, Kesler beat Toews decisively for the first time. He also took a puck off the head and failed to bury what looked like a sure-fire goal in the third period, so it's not like it was all roses, but if he can play that well every game, the Canucks are going to go far.
2. Alexandre Burrows - I don't much care for Mr. Burrows, but he did have a fantastic game. The penalty he took in overtime is pretty forgivable in that it seemed like you could do pretty much anything and get away with it. And even if if you want to nick him for that, he was integral to Kesler's success against Toews, and scored both Vancouver goals. His catch and slam on the winner was exactly the right play.
1. Corey Crawford - I thought he was going to be a weak link for the Hawks before the series, and he did nothing to dispel those thoughts through the first three games. On this night, however, he was magnificent, and I don't think choosing him as the game's top player is a stretch. The performance would have been much more memorable in a win, but Crawford should definitely be proud of how he played.
The Sons of Satan
3. Duncan Keith - When things started to go badly, Keith just looked exhausted, and even though it all worked out great, that penalty late in the third was just awful. In the first period, I guess that's maybe a "good" penalty if it prevents the scoring chance (which Keith didn't), but with three minutes to go, you just need to hope the goalie makes the save.
2. Marian Hossa - The Canucks were focused in on another line, and Hossa still got crushed. That kind of thing just can't happen. I know he scored pretty well in this series, but he didn't have any truly spectacular games and just never looked all that special on the ice. Even when I saw him make a great steal, he'd then immediately lose the puck to someone else.
1. Chris Campoli - He probably wasn't worse than any of the other defensemen on this night but you're the guy that makes that mistake, you end up on the bottom of the list. You just do.