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Did you expect this?

Because I didn't expect this. I was predicting scores with Tempocrew before the game started. He predicted a 4-2 win for the Canucks, and I said a 4-3 win, clearly we were both very very wrong. Did anyone expect the Hawks to just crumble after 10 minutes of play in the 1st period?

There was plenty of jump in the first 10 minutes of the game. It was fast, it was open and both teams played hard. It looked like this was going to be a great game to watch if both teams could keep up the pace.

But by the end of the second period the shots were even at 25 shots for each team, but the score was 5-0 for the Canucks. Luongo ended up making 37 saves on 38 shots, and only let in one goal which was on a Chicago powerplay. The Canuck players also blocked a ton of shots, and I think we all cringed a little when we saw Burrows skate to the bench in pain. One of the biggest positives for Vignuealt out of tonight is that all four Canuck lines scored tonight.

The Canuck defense also looked good tonight. Bieksa, Ehrhoff, Salo and Edler all played over 20 minutes tonight shutting down the Hawks. Bieksa played a better game than usual, O'Brien continued his strong playoff performance and Alberts played a good game since there was nothing noticeable to gripe about.

At the other end of the rink, Niemi struggled at stopping pucks and was pulled after two periods. I questioned why Niemi wasn't pulled after 4 goals, because after the 4th goal, Chicago really should have made the switch then to Huet. But not all of the blame can be put on Niemi's performance since Chicago wasn't able to score either. Sure they did eventually score, but at that point it was a little too late. Chicago didn't put forth the net presence in front of Luongo that everyone was afraid of. There was no tone set by the home team saying this was home ice besides the cheering during the anthem that the fans did. By sitting Eager and Burrish, the Hawks lacked any energy in their lineup. And with no goals to cheer for the United Center was no madhouse, in fact it was deathly quiet in the 2nd and 3rd period.

Continued after the jump...

The only thing bad about the Canucks tonight was that when they were up 5-0 in the 3rd they seemed to just sit back and not push as hard. They didn't skate as hard and then ended up taking multiple penalties because they were too relaxed. There was the odd giveaways as well, but nothing too major.

Like I said in my preview, if the Canucks could win this game it was huge. This game was a statement made by the Canucks to the Blackhawks saying "we weren't the same team as last year". In addition, they stole a game on the road in one of the loud arena's in the NHL. Big win tonight but this is just the first game of what could be a long series.

Here is some of the game in a photo/video recap form:

Mason Raymon contributes on the first two goals, the first by working along the boards keeping the puck alive, which Ehrhoff wrists in past Niemi. Tempocrew points out the weird head bobbing thing Niemi does after the goal, look for it...

Then in the last minute of the period, Mason Raymond slaps in a goal past Niemi to put the Canucks up 2-0.

**1st intermission**

32 seconds into the 2nd period, and just plenty of hard work, Henrik wrists in the puck to make it 3-0

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Bernier get the puck just past Niemi's pad but not over the line. Wellwood fought hard at the net and into Seabrook's elbow to jam in this powerplay goal:

Which resulted in this lovefest:

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It's like a Kyle Wellwood sandwich...

The fourth line even contributed with a goal from Grabner which was his first career playoff goal. Never had thought thought in this series' you'd hear Hughson call "from Rypien to Grabner, and he scores!"

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**2nd Intermission**

To start the 3rd period Huet was in net, and Niemi was on the bench. Yes that is Hossa hanging his head in shame, he knows he carries the curse

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Patrick Kane scores a wrist shot on the powerplay but it's too late, Canucks win 5-1.

Woo!

Next game Monday at 6pm