Playoff Box Score: Blackhawks on Brink of Elimination
By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 18, 2011 3:00PM
It bears repeating: these aren't last year's Blackhawks. These also aren't last year's Vancouver Canucks. In fact, it could be said the two teams have switched sides. The Canucks are the deeper, faster, more skilled team. Coupled with a goalie who is looking to make a statement in Roberto Luongo and the Blackhawks find themselves on the brink of being swept out of the Stanley Cup playoffs after a 3-2 loss to the Canucks last night at the United Center.
The Canucks have also been the more physical team throughout the series. Not even Joel Quenneville's decision to play enforcer John Scott a move in which Quenneville may have well have said "I got nothing" fazed the Canucks. Not when Vancouver had forward Raffi Torres playing his first game in the playoffs after a suspension for an illegal hit. Torres's hit on Brent Seabrook left the defenseman shaking cobwebs out of his head and the Blackhawks pissed after the game. Quenneville believed Torres should have received more than a minor penalty for the hit (the Blackhawks did score a goal on the ensuing power play).
Even though the Blackhawks lack the depth of last year's squad, more troubling is how the veterans from last year's Cup winners have not shown up for the series. Patrick Sharp scored his first goal of the series last night, but Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa have been non-factors. If the Blackhawks have any hopes of taking the series back to Vancouver, they need to show up tomorrow night and play the way they're capable of playing.