Failed 5-on-3 proves costly
Even though they were leading 1-0 and were taking it to the Vancouver Canucks midway through the first period Sunday at the United Center, the Blackhawks had reason to be a little worried.
Because they just had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:17 and failed to get the puck past Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.
No big deal you say? Think again.
If the hockey gods have deemed one thing a fact it is this: Fail to score on a two-man advantage and it seems more often then not, a loss will follow.
For the Blackhawks, a loss followed -- a 3-2 loss to Vancouver that may have put a dagger in any hopes they had of getting back in this series.
"We had the start we wanted and scored a couple times on the power play, but it seems like when you're not scoring on those 5 on 3's ... the teams that don't score seem to lose the game," said Hawks winger Patrick Kane. "I don't know what it is, if you lose the momentum or what."
Both Kane and Jonathan Toews had good scoring chances on the two-man advantage, but each was stoned by Luongo.
"I think Roberto did a great job in the first period when we got in the penalty trouble," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
"Especially on that 5-on-3, he kept us in. He gave us a chance to hang around and find a way to win.
"That's one thing against this team: They've got such a high level of skill and such a great power play that you don't want to get into penalty trouble. But we did."
But Luongo had the answers when it counted most. And then the Canucks followed with back-to-back goals in the second ... and everything changed
"You don't want to let them go up 2-0," Luongo said. "It might be a different game. Maybe it is. Maybe it's not. Obviously there's a lot of key moments in the game and that was one of them."
And that fact alone seemed to blow Toews' mind.
"A game like that shouldn't come down to that 5 on 3," he said in disgust. "We had two huge chances there and their goaltender made huge saves."
And not just on power-play chances.
"I had my chances tonight; I should have buried a couple," Kane said. "I don't think we deserved the first two games but ... when you're up 1-0, you can't give up 2 quick goals and expect to win."