Sunday, April 17, 2011
Posted: 9:42 p.m. Updated: 11:32 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
The Blackhawks finally got the energetic, productive start they were looking for against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. Its the finish that was missing. And that lack of determination late has them on the brink of elimination.
Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp scored but Mikael Samuelsson scored the game-winner midway through the third in Vancouvers 3-2 victory on Sunday night. It was a devastating loss for the Blackhawks, who now trail the Canucks 3-0 in their Western Conference quarterfinals series.
WATCH: Coach Q candid on Torres' hit
The Blackhawks had their early lead Keith scored just four seconds into their first power play and the raucous United Center crowd behind them. But when they started the third period tied 2-2 something happened. Or didnt happen. The Blackhawks had little punch in the final 20 minutes and Samuelsson provided the dagger about seven minutes into the third.
WATCH: Toews on pride
It comes down to us wanting it 5-on-5. There are a lot of our guys out there that could get hungrier and go out there and create something 5-on-5 and we didnt do it, captain Jonathan Toews said. Were going into the third tied up, and weve got to have our best period of the series to, pretty much, stay alive in this thing and we give up a soft goal like we did. Its pretty frustrating to see.
The Blackhawks had a few frustrations on Sunday. For Patrick Kane, it was his inability to score on any of his three shots on goal, including a juicy 5-on-3 opportunity in the first period.
I had my chances tonight. I shouldve buried a couple. I have to step up and make those shots and make the game a little bit different, said Kane. It seems when you dont score on those 5 on 3s you lose the game. I dont know if you lose momentum or what.
In some cases thats true, considering the Blackhawks have had some listless 5 on 3s this season. But on Sunday the Blackhawks 5-on-3 chances were very good. Roberto Luongo was just better. The Canucks goaltender stopped 30 shots, including back-to-back gems on Toews and Kane on two separate occasions.
No, this came down to finish. Or lack thereof. The Blackhawks have been bitten by these late letdowns a lot this season. Now theyre one loss away from truly being finished.
WATCH: Sharp says one game at a time
Im not evaluating players out there. The most important thing is at the end of the day it doesnt matter who scores or who gets the points. Its about winning games, Sharp said. Im not looking at whos scoring, whos playing well, who are the good players the bad players. I just know we lost the game.
Dave Bolland didnt play on Sunday but the center, whos been sidelined by a concussion for more than a month, is hopeful that he can be ready for Game 4.
Bolland once again skated with his teammates on Sunday morning and said that hes progressing every day and hopes it means he can play against the Canucks soon.
Thats what Im hoping for, Bolland said about possibly playing Tuesday. Im progressing, Im going to therapy Im doing everything. I want to be part of this. You know how this series went last year. Its a fun series. Sitting around watching every day sucks, but theres progress.
WATCH: Campbell on an uphill climb
Bolland obviously would be in now if he had a knee, shoulder or some injury like that. But considering how delicate concussions are, and their long-term affects, Bolland realizes theres no choice but to wait.
Thats the way it is. If its my shoulder or anything else, itd be a different story, said Bolland. Its just making sure its healed. I dont want to take a little bump or hit and get these symptoms back because theyre a pain in the ass.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.