Canucks hope home ice an advantage vs. Blackhawks
Tuesday, 05.11.2010 / 5:30 PM
NHL.comBLACKHAWKS at CANUCKS
TV: VERSUS (HD), CBC (HD), RDS (HD), CSN-CH (HD)
(Chicago leads best-of-seven series, 3-2)
Big Story --
Vancouver hasn't had the best time at home in these playoffs, especially against the Blackhawks. They lost Games 3 and 4 at GM Place by a combined 12-6 because they unraveled and gave up 14 power-play chances. Chicago scored on six of them. The Canucks have won just two of five home games in this postseason, but they have to get a win Tuesday or their season is over. Chicago eliminated Vancouver in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinal last season, but that was at the United Center.
Everything that was going so well for the Hawks stopped working Sunday night largely because they didn't work hard or smart enough. Dustin Byfuglien, who rose to fame with his constant net presence in Games 3 and 4, was a non-factor. Patrick Kane
logged nearly 23 minutes but had only one shot. The usually composed Hawks blew a gasket and committed seven minor penalties, including four in the third period. Their power play, which was fantastic in Vancouver, mustered only three shots on four chances. The stretch pass that they love to use to create odd-man situations was taken away. Their short passing game was off, too. And at times they looked like they were skating in mud. So that's how we get to Game 6 in Vancouver. It's not panic time for Chicago, far from it in fact, but the last thing it wants is to play Game 7 back at the United Center.
"You know what, they played a little different (Sunday) night," Kane said. "They sat back and waited for us to make mistakes. I think the biggest thing is they scored a minute into the game, got themselves some life and then just sat back and waited for us to either make turnovers or dump the puck in and not get the puck back. We have to play patient if they play like that, kind of like we did against Nashville. Just play patient and capitalize on the chances we do get."
Vancouver won Game 5 to extend its season at least another 48 hours, but it was costly as defenseman Sami Salo suffered what is believed to be a ruptured testicle when he was struck by Duncan Keith
's point shot late in the first period. Salo is out for Game 6 and probably beyond, which is a major blow. He is a staple in their top four, a guy who logs more than 22 minutes a night and plays in every facet of the game. He's also a burly defenseman and can use his size to keep some of the crease-happy Hawks away from goalie Roberto Luongo. Either Aaron Rome or Nolan Baumgartner would likely replace Salo in the lineup -- no offense to them, but either way it's a step down for the Canucks. They can't worry about that too much, though. The Canucks have to find a way to win a home game, something that hasn't come too easy in the playoffs.
"I guess composure is the word everyone has been using and I think (Sunday night) we had the best composure we've had in the series," defenseman Shane O'Brien said. "Hopefully our fans will be going and we have to stay the way we did (Sunday), maybe bring a road mentality to our game Tuesday night."
Who's Hot --
Kevin Bieksa scored only three goals in 55 games during the regular season, but he potted two in Game 5, including the winner, and he played fantastic in his own zone by logging more than 27 minutes. … Jonathan Toews
continues to wield the hot stick for the Blackhawks. He scored again in Game 5 and now has 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in the series and 19 points (6 goals, 13 assists) in the playoffs.
Injury Report --
Vancouver has the big injury of the series with Salo likely out with a ruptured testicle. Rome (lower body), Willie Mitchell (concussion) and Baumgartner (knee) all haven't skated in this series. … Chicago is healthy despite the long-term injury to defenseman Kim Johnsson (concussion), who has been out since March.
Stat Pack --
The Blackhawks are 4-1 on the road in the playoffs and similarly 4-1 at GM Place in the postseason dating back to last season's conference semifinals. They have scored 22 goals in the five playoff games at GM Place, including 12 in Games 3 and 4 this year.
Puck Drop --
"We have to be way better than (Sunday)," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Across the board, all aspects of our game have to be sharper, crisper and like I said before, simpler. Across the board everybody has to be better."