NHL Playoffs: Blackhawks Lose 4-3 to Canucks, Head Home Down 2-0 In Series

Vancouver holds serve, series coming to the Madhouse on Madison .

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NHL Playoffs: Blackhawks Vs. Canucks Game Two, Sports Network Recap

Sports Network | April 16, 2011

Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) – Daniel Sedin had two goals and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks held on for a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of a Western Conference quarterfinal series.

The Sedin brothers were held without a point in a 2-0 win in Game 1, but combined for five points on Friday to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead in the best- of-seven-series.

Roberto Luongo, who stopped 32 shots in the first game for his second playoff shutout, made 23 stops.

Ben Smith lit the lamp twice while Viktor Stalberg scored the other goal for the Blackhawks, who will hope to get in the win column on Sunday night as the team will play host for Game 3.

Corey Crawford was touched for four goals on 27 shots in the loss.

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NHL Playoffs: Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Vancouver Canucks - Sports Network Preview

(Sports Network) - The top-seeded Vancouver Canucks will try to take a 2-0 lead over Chicago when the clubs meet tonight at Rogers Arena for Game 2 of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals.

Vancouver, which won the Presidents' Trophy as the club with the best record during the regular season, is trying to avoid being eliminated from the postseason by the Blackhawks for a third straight spring.

A victory in Game 1 would seem like a step in the right direction for the Canucks, but Alain Vigneault's club also won the series opener against Chicago in each of the last two postseasons, only to watch the Blackhawks win both Western Conference semifinal matchups in six games.

Although the Blackhawks hit several posts in Wednesday's opener, Chicago failed to score a goal as Roberto Luongo stopped 32 shots for the second shutout of his playoff career. Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen both scored for the Canucks in the 2-0 home victory.

But, Luongo realized the recent playoff history between the clubs and put the Game 1 victory into perspective.

"This game doesn't mean anything if we don't win the series," said Luongo. "We won Game 1 and that is nice, but we have to come out with a good effort and we still have a lot of work left to do."

Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots in what was the rookie's NHL playoff debut. Antti Niemi, who is now San Jose's No. 1 goaltender, helped the Blackhawks win a Stanley Cup title as a rookie last spring.

"Unacceptable," Chicago captain and last year's Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Toews said of his team's effort in Game 1. "We played that like a regular- season game, but it's not a regular-season game. It's a playoff game, and some of us didn't pay the price. We were hearing footsteps. We have to respond better."

The Blackhawks, who will host Game 3 on Sunday, were never shut out during last year's championship run.

Chicago and Vancouver have met two other times in the postseason in addition to their 2009 and 2010 semifinal bouts, and the Blackhawks own a 3-1 edge all- time against the Canucks in the playoffs.

Vancouver, meanwhile, held a slight 2-1-1 advantage in the regular-season series this year.

The Canucks had a 27-9-5 record as the host this season, while Chicago struggled to a 20-12-9 mark as the guest.

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NHL Playoffs: Series History On Blackhawks Side Over Canucks

Sure, the Vancouver Canucks took a one game lead in the Western Conference Quarterfinals Wednesdsay, and they looked overwhelming, especially in a first period where they threw everything they had at Hawks rookie goalie Corey Crawford. And sure, Roberto Luongo had an incredible game, shutting out Chicago for a 2-0 win. But as bad as that loss might have looked at times, the Blackhawks may have Vancouver right where they want them.

The Blackhawks and Canucks have been here before, and more than once. These two teams have met in the playoffs the last two years previous to this, and the Canucks won the first game both times. But the Blackhawks took the series both times. So far, everything is going along according to script.

I recognize that this is not the same Hawks team that eliminated Vancouver and took the Stanley Cup last year, and that this year's road is going to be tougher, but there's still plenty of reason for optimism. This is still a very good team. They may not have as many big bodies as last year's playoff model, but they still have their scorers and speed, and I believe they've got more stamina than Vancouver.

The Canucks can't keep up the intensity they displayed in the first period on Wednesday and Luongo can't stop everything, every game. He is a very good goalie, no question. But fate was smiling on him in the first game of this series, and dumb luck was calling his number as well.

Corey Crawford has gotten a taste of playoff intensity, and for the most part, answered the bell admirably. If Jonathan Toes and Co. can get just a few better chances on goal, and if Chicago can deliver some hits without falling into the trap of trying to match Vancouver's physicality, I believe they can outlast them and outskate them.

~~~~~

I'll be tweeting throughout tonight's game, follow along at @sbnchicago and @BabylonDon1

Go Hawks!

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