Game over: Hawks' comeback falls just short


Game over: Hawks' comeback falls just short

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

By Tracey Myers

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

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Special teams struggles continue

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Special teams struggles continue

Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Tracey Myers discuss the Blackhawks' penalty kill woes in the latest installment of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast. 

They also break down the defensive pairings and Joel Quenneville's coaching after seven games. 

Check out the latest episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast below: 

Artem Anisimov collecting points but knows faceoffs need to improve

Artem Anisimov collecting points but knows faceoffs need to improve

It took a little bit for Artem Anisimov to get going this season.

Much like the second line overall, he wasn’t making an immediate impact or collecting many points. Oh, how things have changed in a week or two.

Now if he can get his face-off victories on the same level as his production, he’ll be happy.

Anisimov, who was named the NHL’s second star for last week, continued his point-scoring run with an assist in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night. Entering Tuesday’s games, Anisimov is one of four players with a league-best nine points.

“It was a very good week,” said Anisimov, whose focus quickly turned to the Blackhawks. “But we need to play better as a team. Better on the [penalty kill], better on the power play, too. Just play better.”

Anisimov wasn’t giving himself too much credit so Patrick Kane, the beneficiary of Anisimov’s assist on Monday, did.

“He made a great pass to me. Not that he didn’t do that last year. He was there, but sometimes we’d score a goal, he’d be the third assist or the guy in front of the net creating traffic and could be the biggest reason we score,” Kane said. “Good to see him get the points and get the recognition, for sure.”

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Now, about those faceoffs. After winning 44.2 percent of his faceoffs last season, Anisimov has won just 35 percent so far this season. As soon as the subject came up, Anisimov shook his head in frustration.

“The faceoff situation. It’s not great, actually. I try to do so many things right now but it doesn’t work,” he said. “You have so many different things. Try to worry about the opponent, how they do it, and not focus on myself. I just need to focus on myself and what I’m doing. keep working.”

Jonathan Toews is by far the Blackhawks’ faceoff man right now; he’s winning 60.8 percent of the time. Marcus Kruger is at 50 percent. The Blackhawks as a team are 29th in the NHL in faceoffs won in the offensive zone (42.5 percent), 27th overall in faceoffs (46.6 percent). Coach Joel Quenneville needs the team, including Anisimov, to be better in that department.

“We started off in a tough area – across the board except for Jonny – where we’re starting against it, chasing the puck and a lot of times we’re out there in the offensive zone and we don’t get that pressure, sustain offensive zone time or puck possession time. That’s an area where we’d like to get 50-50 or close to that and get a little help along the lines as well,” Quenneville said. “That’s definitely area where we need [Anisimov] to get better and get a little stronger, and [have] an awareness to what the opponents are doing or how the officials are dropping it as well. We have to get better.”

Anisimov has gotten his production going. He’d like to do the same with his faceoffs. Much like his scoring, he knows getting confidence in faceoffs could turn things around.

“Of course, yes,” he said. “I just need to straighten out a couple more games in the faceoffs and it’ll build confidence. Just build confidence.”