Game over: Hawks' comeback falls just short

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Game over: Hawks' comeback falls just short

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Posted: 12:07 a.m. Updated: 1:51 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia Corey Crawford did the proverbial headstand in net. Jonathan Toews came up with the big goal when the Chicago Blackhawks needed it most.

But Vancouver winger Alex Burrows made the Canucks opening statement with his early goal. And he was there at the end to put the exclamation point on it.

WATCH: Crawford didn't get a clear read

Burrows intercepted a failed Chris Campoli clearing pass and put it past Crawford 5:22 into overtime as the Canucks eliminated the Blackhawks 2-1 in Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday night. It was a thrilling ending to a great series, one in which the Canucks finally nipped their postseason nemesis.
WATCH: Toews says it's a tough one to swallow

Weve had some good series in the past but Ive got to say that was the best one, said Toews, whose short-handed goal tied the game with just 1:56 remaining in regulation. I cant believe it. Theres no doubt in my mind we were going to win this game.

The Blackhawks almost did. But Burrows, whose penalty shot was stopped by Crawford early in the third, wouldnt be denied in overtime. Blackhawks defenseman Campoli lifted the puck to clear but Burrows got a glove on it, skated through the slot and scored the series clincher.

You can't have turnovers like that. I made the play, not him (Burrows), said a distraught looking Campoli. Those are the kind of turnovers you can't have. It cost us the game and it's disappointing.

Crawfords worked loomed large considering the rest of the Blackhawks could get little going offensively against a defensive-minded Canucks team. But the Canucks couldnt get breathing room because of Crawford, who stopped 36 of 38.

WATCH: Quenneville on Crawford

Thats one of the greatest goaltending performances in clutch situations youre ever going to see, coach Joel Quenneville said. He gave us a chance.

Defenseman Brian Campbell said he felt bad Crawford had to take the loss.

WATCH: Campbell says the Hawks didn't accomplish their goal

He was unbelievable, no question, with the way he played all season and he just battled. He came up with huge saves for us. He had a lot of pressure coming into this season, he got his chance and were lucky to have him on our team.

Roberto Luongo rebounded off his last three tough outings twice pulled, another in relief of Cory Schneider by stopping 31 of 32. His biggest came early in overtime, when he denied Patrick Sharps power-play shot.

It looked like he anticipated that pretty well, Quenneville said of Luongos read.

Nobody anticipated this series going seven games. But it was nonetheless. The Blackhawks arent happy their postseason ended this quickly but its just one more learning experience in a season full of them.

WATCH: Keith didn't like the Power Play
Obviously (Vancouver) is a great team. Give the credit for what they did tonight, Toews said. But we know what we have in this locker room and well learn from this experience. We had ourselves down 3-0 and its a tough thing to do to come back. We were one goal away and its disappointing. But at the same time we can learn from it.

Head shots

There had been two shoulder-to-head hits in this series. Raffi Torres landed the first on Brent Seabrook, who missed Games 4 and 5 because of it. Bryan Bickell landed a very similar one on Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa in Game 6. Both came behind the net. Torres was assessed a two-minute minor, Bickell nothing; neither received supplemental discipline because they fell under a rule that allows such a hit behind the net.
Corey Crawford is joined by teammates after allowing the GW goal in the Blackhawks 2-1 Game 7 OT loss to the Canucks. (AP)

Seabrook said the biggest thing is just everyone knowing what the rules are on those hits.

If theyre legal theyre legal. It looked like same hit I had. I just think we have to be more aware of it, he said. The refs are doing their job, theyve got a tough enough job without worrying about what is or isnt a penalty. There are some guys who are confused. Bieksa said it well. Its a hockey play, its a hockey hit. If thats it, thats the rule, we all have to be good with that.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks gear up for Wild in 'extremely important' game

Blackhawks gear up for Wild in 'extremely important' game

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Blackhawks knew their meeting against the Minnesota Wild two weeks ago was a critical contest. This one is right up there, too.

The Blackhawks are trying to keep pace with the front-running Wild, who are seven points ahead of them entering tonight's game.

"There's certainly always something to play for," said coach Joel Quenneville, whose Blackhawks are 10 points ahead of third-place St. Louis. "We want to keep getting better and we're starting to improve over this part of the season. But the point of importance of today's game and keeping it close is important for us, so we'll approach it that way. We were going into the break a week ago, and I'm sure it's an important game for them but it's an extremely important game for us."

Meanwhile the Wild will be trying to do tonight what the Blackhawks did on Feb. 11: go into their bye on a high note. The Wild haven't had many hiccups lately, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Devan Dubnyk will get the start as the Wild look to keep extending their lead.

"It's one of those games that's a great challenge for your group," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You're playing a team that's still won three Stanley Cups in the last seven years and they've been in every battle you can imagine. That team gets up for every important game, and I think they'll think this is an important game. It's just about being an athlete. It's one of those things, you love to play in these situations."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Tuesday marks the Wild's 59th game of the season; they had caught up to Chicago during the Blackhawks' bye week, yet will go into their break with a game in hand. Still, the Wild are ready for the respite.

"We're not complaining about it," Charlie Coyle said. "It's a little different, yeah, but in the long run it's going to help us. Just get this rest period, rest the legs, the body, [rest] mentally, come back and get ready for the grind. It's going to be crucial for us and we'll try to take advantage of it."

Matt Dumba (knee) could return to the Wild's lineup tonight but Boudreau wouldn't say for sure.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com and NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks

Forward lines
Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender
Corey Crawford

Injuries/illnesses: None

Minnesota Wild

Forward lines
Nino Niederreiter-Eric Staal-Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise-Erik Haula-Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart-Tyler Graovac-Jordan Schroeder

Defensive Pairs
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Gustav Olofsson-Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella-Matt Dumba

Goaltender
Devan Dubnyk

Injuries/illnesses: None

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

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