Game 3 notes: Blackhawks-Canucks

Game 3 notes: Blackhawks-Canucks

Sunday, April 17, 2011Posted: 2 PM
Blackhawks (44-29-9) vs. Canucks (56-19-9)

Canucks lead series 2-0

Starting Goalies

Blackhawks: Corey Crawford took the hard-luck loss in Game 1, allowing two first-period goals but keeping Chicago in the game with 31 saves. Vancouver gave Crawford a harder time in the second game of the series, netting four goals on 27 shots. In his first season as an everyday netminder, Crawford had averaged 2.30 goals against, good for seventh in the NHL.

Canucks: Roberto Luongo posted a shutout in the series opener and made 23 saves in Game 2 to lead Vancouver to a 2-0 series lead. During the regular season, Luongo registered the second-lowest goals against average in the league (2.11) and boasted a save percentage just a shade under 93 percent.

Previous games
Thanks to a pair of goals by Daniel Sedin on Friday, the Canucks took a 2-0 series lead. Sedin, the NHLs leader in points during the regular season, also added an assist. Ben Smith scored two goals of his own for Chicago, but the third-period rally came too late as Vancouver notched a 4-3 victory on their home ice.

Head-to-head
The two teams split their regular-season series 2-2, but the Blackhawks outscored the Canucks 12-9 over the four head-to-head matchups. The Sedin brothers totaled nine points against Chicago during the regular season.

Whos hot?
Daniel Sedin has seven points in his last four games, while rookie Ben Smith is coming off the only two-goal performance of his career.
Storylines
The defending champs bring it back to Chicago, looking to avoid a slip into a 3-0 series deficit. Only three teams in NHL history have gone on to win a series after dropping the first three games.

Sound off
What can the Hawks do to stifle Vancouvers explosive offense?

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How do Friday's blockbuster deals impact the Blackhawks going forward

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How do Friday's blockbuster deals impact the Blackhawks going forward

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Tracey Myers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the Blackhawks' blockbuster deals involving Niklas Hjalmarsson being dealt to Arizona and re-acquiring Brandon Saad from Columbus in exchange for Artemi Panarin.

They also discuss what it means for the team going forward, and whether it's a precursor to bigger deals to come.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below.

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

* “Don’t look to the past anymore. It’s great to think you can recapture the magic with former players but years go by and times change.”

The sentences you see above were written by yours truly after the Blackhawks were unceremoniously eliminated from the first round in April. And for the most part, I stand by the message. The Blackhawks kept going back to their alumni well for solutions but, for the most part, it wasn’t working. But there’s always an exception to the rule, always one asterisk that can be applied in every situation (as we’ve done here).

In this case, that exception is Brandon Saad.

This isn’t someone who played with the Blackhawks five or more years ago. This isn’t a player who’s in his 30s. This isn’t a player who’s at the end of his career. This is a player in his prime, a 24-year-old who has a whole lot of game remaining and a whole lot of familiarity with this group, especially captain Jonathan Toews.

By the way, anyone else struck by the irony that the same Saad deal that the Blackhawks couldn’t afford two years ago is now one that fits perfectly, and will be really beneficial in two seasons when they don’t have to worry about trying to re-sign Artemi Panarin, who will be an unrestricted free agent?

Anyway, back to revisiting the past. General manager Stan Bowman admitted that he was hoping to bring Saad back into the fold at some point, although talks for this particular deal didn’t heat up until the past few days.

“Certainly it was a tough move a couple of years ago to have to make that trade [of Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015]," Bowman said. “Today my conversation had a much different tone. Brandon’s coming back and that chemistry is there right away and intensity and the way he plays. His all-around game is second to none.”

Saad said he wondered if he’d end up with the Blackhawks again at some point in his career.

“The day I was traded I talked with Stan and you part ways, but it’s a small league and there are always opportunities. It was definitely a thought in my mind possibly ending up in Chicago,” he said. “I didn’t think it’d happen this soon but that’s just the way it happened. It’s exciting to be back somewhere I’m comfortable, somewhere I know and an organization that’s had success.”

Yes, the Blackhawks went back to their alumni well. But instead of getting an aging veteran they’ve reacquired a kid in his prime. Every situation can come with an asterisk. This is one exception that will turn out well for the Blackhawks.