It's really strange to be writing the same post on the same day a year apart, but here it is... the Vancouver Canucks have been eliminated from the playoffs after the second round by the Chicago Blackhawks... again. It was indeed the anniversary (of sorts) of their crashing out of the playoffs in 2009 and last year's post eerily has the same elements to talk about as this year's. Thankfully, we have ourselves a new animation and a few of the names had to be changed for updated rosters, but its still eerie nonetheless.
Game Six itself was a good battle for the first 20 minutes of play, with the score even at zero after the 1st period, but you can easily say the turning point of the game happened with a few minutes to go in the 1st period, when Dustin Byfuglien gave Alex Edler a hard run into the boards, forcing the Swedish defender to leave the game and not return, leaving the Canucks a man short on the blueline. The makeshift pairings were lost on breakouts and were guilty of bad turnovers in the neutral zone, both in the 2nd and 3rd periods, causing the crucial goals against and thus ending the run for Vancouver. The final score in Game Six was 5-1 for the Blackhawks, a score fitting of how badly the Canucks crumbled after their teammate fell to injury.
Overall, the scoring was really spread out in the game for the Blackhawks, as only three players picked up more than one point in the game. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, as did Dustin Byfuglien, while Kris Versteeg was credited with the game-winning goal. Of course, as we all know, Antti Niemi was not the selection for the Blackhawks in goal in the pool, so his win disappears into oblivion.
As I mentioned in the preview to this series, the Canucks were not the favourite going in, having less selections in the pool than the Blackhawks, who almost finished with a perfect record of 97% in the selection field. The Canucks had 125 selections eliminated from the pool on Tuesday night, with Roberto Luongo the most popular selection on the team at 22 picks. Daniel Sedin was second on the team in picks with 16, Henrik Sedin had 14, while both Mikael Samuelsson and Pavol Demitra each had 13.
Daniel Sedin and Mikael Samuelsson led the way for the Canucks in pool scoring in these playoffs, each picking up 16 points through the first two rounds. Samuelsson has a good shot of making the perfect team at the end of these playoffs, since we can only have three players from any one team and he currently leads all players from Box 6 in scoring. The real telling statistic was that both players only had 4 points in six games in the second round, which was not the dominant numbers the Canucks were looking for from them.
And that was that..