Blackhawks Eliminate Canucks with 5-1 win

VANCOUVER – The Chicago Blackhawks moved on to the Western Conference
finals following a lopsided 5-1 defeat of the Vancouver Canucks at G.M. Place Tuesday night in Game 6.

Twice Vancouver gave up back-to-back goals within seconds of
each other. The second of those pair was even more devastating than the first.

With the score 3-1 in the third period, Patrick Kane broke
in one-on-one and put a shot between Roberto Luongo’s legs, all but destroying
the Canucks’ hopes of coming back. Twenty-Five seconds later, Dustin Byfuglien beat Luongo stick side on
a breakaway, and put the final nail in the coffin of Vancouver’s season.

Canucks defenseman Shane O’Brien — who scored Vancouver’s
only goal — explained the reason for the late back-breaking goals.

“When you’re going that hard to tie it up you’re going to
give up opportunities defensively,” said O’Brien. “Unfortunately they
capitalized and that’s it.”

On the other hand, the first pair of ‘Hawks goals came with
the score already tied at zero.

Troy Brouwer, who stepped into the line up for Tomas
Kopecky, opened the scoring for Chicago with a redirection of Patrick Sharp’s
pass, beating Luongo high glove side. Thirty-Six seconds later, Kris Versteeg elected to keep the puck on
a two-on-one, snapping it past Luongo low stick side to give the Blackhawks a
2-0 lead. Dave Bolland added a third goal in the final minute of the
second period that created an insurmountable deficit.

The Canucks’ second period collapse came after an exciting
first period that saw Vancouver barely missing some golden scoring
opportunities.

“We wanted to play for 60 minutes,” said Daniel Sedin of
Vancouver’s second period breakdown. “But it has happened [often] at home
during the playoffs – we have a good start but we haven’t been scoring, and we
fall apart. Tonight we kept working and tried to stick with it, but we lost to
a better team. That’s the bottom line.”

Dustin Byfuglien, who was one of the biggest thorns in the
Canucks’ side, disagreed with Sedin’s assertion about the better team.

“I wouldn’t say we’re a much better hockey club at all,”
said the Blackhawks forward. “[The difference was] puck control, crashing and
banging and getting traffic in front, and finishing our chances. “

Luongo had a third
opinion about the difference between the two teams.

“I don’t think they were a better team than us, but maybe a smarter
team that knows how to win,” offered Luongo.

Luongo also shared his thoughts on the series as a whole.

“We thought we had a good game plan coming into the series
and I thought we started off the series really well,” said Luongo. “And then we
just didn’t get the job done at home, which is really surprising considering
that we were one of the best home teams the whole year.

“Games 3 and 4 at home here were really not the type of
hockey we wanted to play. They came in here and won both
games. That should never happen.”

As for the Blackhawks, they will hit the road to face the
San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals. Chicago sniper, Patrick Kane, is excited by the potential of improving on
last season’s performance, which saw the ‘Hawks ousted in the third round.

“It’s exciting now,” said Kane. “We get to move on to the
next round. It’s a huge goal ever since you’re a little kid to try to win the
Stanley Cup, and this puts us one step closer.”

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