Is it a sign of “youthful immaturity” that the Chicago Blackhawks failed to put up much of a resistance against the Vancouver Canucks last night? Nope, my guess is that the two teams aren’t separated by much from a talent or will power standpoint and the Canucks rode a great start (2-0 in the first period) and a stellar performance from Roberto Luongo to cut Chicago’s series lead to 3-2.
That doesn’t mean that the loss failed to raise some concern among the Blackhawks. Defenseman Brian Campbell said that the team “didn’t come through” and hypothesized that they might be guilty of looking ahead.
Campbell: You can get a little bit of complacency, but we knew what was at stake and how important it was. That was the biggest thing for us. We just didn’t move our feet. We didn’t move the puck quick enough. We just were a step behind in all areas.
Maybe they get swept away by the deafening fan response to the national anthem and try too hard to score first. Maybe the United Center’s ice — which has been complained about by players from the Blackhawks and visiting teams — isn’t as conducive to the Hawks’ up-tempo pace. Maybe they just get too fancy at home.
Whatever the reason, the stats are telling. After Sunday’s 4-1 home loss to Vancouver in Game 5 of their Western Conference Semifinal series, the Hawks are just 3-3 at the United Center this postseason. Away from the building they are 4-1, with the only loss coming at Nashville in Game 3 of that quarterfinal series — which was clinched on the road.
Then again, the Canucks are the ones who went 0-2 at home, weren’t they? I wouldn’t worry too much just yet if I were the Blackhawks. While the team could stand to generate a little more urgency even when they don’t need to win, they still have the series lead. Tuesday’s game in Vancouver could tell us a lot about the Blackhawks – even if they fail to finish things off.
But the chance for at least a single point slipped at the worst possible time, as Jonathan Toews scored with 1:18 left in regulation and then set up an empty net goal from Marian Hossa just a few seconds later to secure the 4-2 win.
The Canucks remain stuck at five wins — just five wins — on the road. They have the 29th-ranked road record in the entire NHL. Only the Arizona Coyotes have been worse away from home ice. So, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed down the stretch.
Vancouver had a chance to move into a wild card spot. Instead, they let the Blackhawks regain momentum as the period went on, and as a result, they remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture for right now.
Corey Crawford earned his 200th career win, making 26 saves. That’s a milestone night for him. For Toews, that’s his most productive night of the season, as he factored into all four Chicago goals, which, of course, included the winner.
So overtime against the New York Islanders seemed like a perfect time for captain Claude Giroux to bust his scoring slump.
Without a goal in his last 12 games, or since Dec. 21 before the holiday break, Giroux finished the Flyers comeback with an overtime goal to give Philly a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Jakub Voracek did great work along the boards to force a turnover from John Tavares, and Shayne Gostisbehere followed up his chance with a quick pass to a wide-open Giroux at the top of the crease.
That comeback win — Philly trailed by two goals early in the second period — bumps the Flyers back into a wild card spot.
Steve Mason had a big game in net for Philly, with 36 saves, while the Flyers fired 47 shots on goal toward Thomas Greiss, although it’s a difficult task trying to re-set and stop Giroux — an accomplished scorer in the NHL — on the doorstep.
Goals, goals and more goals! Blue Jackets outlast Senators for overtime win
Plenty of goals. A little three-on-three overtime. Seemed like an enjoyable afternoon of hockey between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Well, maybe the goalies, Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo, didn’t enjoy it as much.
The Blue Jackets prevailed for a 7-6 overtime win, with Cam Atkinson scoring just 1:09 into the extra period. That’s his 23rd goal of the season. Only two players — Jeff Carter (24) and Sidney Crosby (28) — have scored more goals than Atkinson this season.
With the win, and the Capitals sitting idle today, the Blue Jackets move back into a tie with Washington at 68 points in the fight for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
There were some anxious moments for Columbus.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was hurt blocking a shot in the third period. He briefly left the game, unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off.
The good news: He only missed a few minutes, returning late in regulation and for the overtime as well, which is important for the Blue Jackets.
#CBJ Zach Werenski said on @FOXSportsOH post-game he "thought it was broken" and "long term" injury when he blocked the shot.
“He’s made a couple of huge mistakes in a game and he comes to the bench, shakes it off and then goes out and makes a great play. For a 19-year-old playing that position and the amount of time he’s getting in key situations with this organization, it’s pretty impressive.”