On Tuesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the Vancouver Canucks with a dominant 5-1 victory.
The Blackhawks won all three games played in Vancouver in the series, with Dustin Byfuglien scoring four goals in the three games. In total the Blackhawks outscored the Canucks 17-7 on their home ice.
For a close-out game, it could not have worked out better for the Blackhawks. Troy Brouwer dressed for the first time since Game Two (as we asked for on Monday here on CommittedIndians), and had some rust to shake off in the first period. He was whistled for the first penalty of the game, which the Hawks killed, and went to the locker room with doughnuts on the board. Early in the second, though, Brouwer was physical and looked more comfortable on the ice. He would score the game’s first goal exactly two minutes into the period.
On the night, Brouwer was the effective player the Hawks had on the ice in the regular season. He played 15:34 and was credited with one blocked shot and three hits. The goal was Brouwer’s first point of the 2010 postseason.
Patrick Kane, who had been slowed by the Canucks’ press in Game Five, scored the back-breaking fourth goal of the night. It was Kane’s seventh of the postseason, and came on a move that embarrassed Luongo. When Byfuglien scored 25 seconds later, the series was unofficially over.
The quick scores in the third period was the second time on the night that the Hawks beat Luongo quickly for a couple goals; Kris Versteeg scored just 36 seconds after Brouwer in the second period to extend the Hawks’ lead to 2-0. Dave Bolland’s short-handed goal in the closing moments of the middle frame appeared to take the heart away from the Canucks.
Antti Niemi was spectacular again, allowing just one goal on 30 shots (.967 save percentage), including a furious 13-shot first period when the Canucks were stoned on a number of opportunities by Niemi and the skaters in front of him. Brent Sopel, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook made critical plays in the first, and Sopel was between a loose puck and the back of the net when the second period expired as well.
Scoring came from all over the roster, as five different players scored a goal on Tuesday night and four more had assists, including NHL postseason scoring leader Jonathan Toews, who assisted on Kane’s goal. Toews ended with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in the six games against Vancouver and now has 20 points in 12 games this postseason. Just as he did in the Olympics, Toews has stepped up on the biggest stage and played incredible hockey.
The Western Conference Finals will begin in San Jose soon…