Saturday, April 16, 2011
Posted: April 15, 11:34 p.m. Updated: 12:56 a.m.
By Tracey Myers
VANCOUVER, British Columbia Joel Quenneville issued the edict on Thursday, a day before Game 2.
Were asking everybody to take a bite out of this series, not just the top guys.
WATCH: Kane, Hossa know they must step up
But on Friday night those other guys, those role players, those non-super stars whatever you want to call them, they were the Blackhawks top guys. No, in Game 2, it was those unsung guys who needed the top guys to lend some bite.
Ben Smith scored twice and Viktor Stalberg added another, but the Blackhawks couldnt muster one more in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The Canucks had to sweat this one out more than they did Game 1, but they nevertheless take a big 2-0 lead in the series. The series now heads to Chicago, where the Hawks have to win at least one to force a Game 5 in Vancouver.
On a night when the Hawks big guns were held all but silent, others stepped up. It was Smith who ended the Blackhawks playoff drought, which was nearly five consecutive periods he scored with 5:10 left in the second. It was Stalberg slipping one through Roberto Luongo early in the third and Smith again midway through the period.
And in a standup move afterward, Smiths thoughts werent on the goals he scored but the ones he couldve prevented, especially Alexander Edlers late second-period one, which went off Smiths stick.
Thats my fault. The stick shouldnt be in the lane the body should, he said. That was a tough one, especially with 13 seconds left (in the second). Its playoff time and you have to sacrifice the body.
Yes, but he still scored. They werent pretty goals. They were rebound goals or, as Marian Hossa called them, greasy goals. But they were nevertheless three goals, and they were three goals more than the Blackhawks could get past Luongo in Game 1.
When those guys score big goals for us we have to take advantage of that, said defenseman Brent Seabrook.
But the Blackhawks couldnt. Save Patrick Kanes secondary assist on Smiths second goal, the top guns were held silent. And as impressive as Smith and others were on Friday night, they arent going to win this series for the Blackhawks. Despite their work, they couldnt even steal Fridays game without help.
Coach Joel Quenneville obviously recognized the missing pieces and was especially disappointed in the Hawks power play. Neither mustered much of a threat.
We need more from our top guys, he said. Our PP was the part that really slowed us down in the game. (That was) tough to watch.
Ben Smith celebrates one of his two goals with Bryan Bickell and Marcus Kruger. Smith wasn't excited afterwards though, instead showing his disappointment over Alexander Edler's shot that deflected off his stick and past Corey Crawford. (AP)
The Blackhawks leaders have had a lot on their shoulders this season. Theyve had to be the torch bearers for a team that underwent a ton of offseason changes and had to find a new identity. Theyve played a lot of minutes, supported a lot of games. And obviously the Canucks are going to zero in more on the Patrick Sharps, Kanes and Jonathan Toews than the Smiths. But this is the time of year where the top players are needed the most.
Obviously you only have three goals in the series and the newer guys have been stepping up, Kane said. The guys who were here last year, the year before in all that, this is big time. Its time to step up now and hopefully we can take control of the series.
Bryan Bickell was injured on Friday night and did not finish Game 2. Coach Quenneville didnt have an immediate update on him. Tomas Kopecky was out of Game 2 with an upper body injury. He is listed as day to day.
Jake Dowell and John Scott were the Blackhawks healthy scratches. Mikael Samuelsson (flu) was a late scratch for the Canucks.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.