Game of the Night

2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game 1: Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks @ United Center
5-1 Final

And so we meet again, Blackhawks.  Bad blood lingers, tempers run furiously high, and our rivalry is as the blood running from my scab.  This is one series that is bound to make 6 pages worth of headlines.

The first period was as good as any.  Though the emotions were kept muted, all that was bottled came out on the ice.  Good checks, timely/great saves, excellent shots, and the play was just brilliant!  The ice was level for the longest time, and even though the Canucks got a goal to get the go-ahead, the two teams played like it was a 0-0 game (which is how I like it). 

When the scoring was looking to go their way, the Hawks responded with a physical game.  And they played a better game from that.  The hits that the Blackhawks delivered gave them a bit more of a spring in their step and gave them more time in the offensive zone than earlier.

Chicago was out goaltended and out muscled.  Chicago played Vancouver's game and were victims to it, like many.  They were muscled out of the zone, Canucks didn't allow them to set up (because if they did, we all know where the game would go), and the PK and PP stepped up a notch since mid-LA Kings series.

Like many expected, it came down to the goalies.  Was the fresh meat goalie Niemi enough to go against the Canucks and veteran and captain Roberto Luongo?  As much as Niemi tried to keep his team in it, he wasn't enough to stop the red hot Canucks, who had a big fire under their belly for the longest time.

Vancouver kept the the tempers down.  A lot of the ferocity that a lot of people expected was kept down and under control.  All that chippiness wasn't seen, but I'm sure that in game 2, emotions will be running higher from Chicago, and I'm just as certain that Vancouver will respond.

Ultimately, we were the hungrier team.  As hard as he may try, Antti Niemi couldn't make every save.  The team in front of him wasn't as hungry throughout the entire game as the Canucks remained.  It was like Vancouver starved themselves until tonight where they could get their fix.  And Michael Grabner got his first playoff goal in the NHL!

Chicago now leaves with a questionable performance from game 1, goaltending questions (hey!  A smidge like Montreal, eh?), and a few questions for their PP.

I'm just thankful that we only had to hear the Fratellis' Chelsea Dagger just once.

3 stars:
1) Mason Raymond
2) Roberto Luongo
3) Ryan Kesler

Chicago fans aren't happy...

But Vancouver fans are!

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