It's like a first date gone bad.
The Canucks started out well, with a strong 2-goal first period performance that, apart from a Brent Seabrook tally, silenced the crowd at United Center.
But if the first period is anything like an introductory phase between two people on a first date, the second period was the actual event and the Canucks simply didn't show up.
There's nothing worse than being stood up, and although the 'Nucks didn't allow the Blackhawks to score any goals in the middle frame, there were no legitimate scoring chances for Vancouver in the middle frame. Ultimately, the 'Hawks finished the 2nd with more shots on net and generated momentum entering the third-- the all-important "Now what?" phase of the first date.
There, the Blackhawks roared out and flexed their offensive muscle; scoring a timely goal from Patrick Sharp while short-handed. No other team has scored as many short-handed goals this year than the Hawks, and you can bet the Canucks coaching staff have been antsy about the thought of pitting Sami Salo in a footrace against Marian Hossa or, unfortunately, Patrick Sharp.
Even worse, the Canucks simply didn't take the game back after what should have been a solid slap back to reality. They generated even less shots in the third than they did in the second, and the only true performer was Roberto Luongo; who, on this first date, was truly given a "one (period) and done" deal from his teammates.
There will be plenty of blame to go around in the Canucks dressing room for this one, but responsibility has to go to the players in charge.
Alex Burrows, who lead all Canucks in goals this season with 35, has a miserable single point-- an empty netter against the Kings back in the first round.
Ryan Kesler, who performed at an all-world status at the Olympics, has been abysmal on the powerplay and, despite scoring 12 of his 25 goals this season on the powerplay, has done a better job of killing the momentum on the Canucks man-advantage than most Chicago penalty-killers.
Together, "Fric and Frack" have 60 goals between them for a total of exactly 2 goals in the playoffs.
For a dynamic duo that was supposed to generate speedy offense on the second line, it may be the first time all year where the two look as if they are slowing linemate Mason Raymond down, and not vice versa.
It may be time to re-organize and re-shuffle the lineup card for Vancouver. With Ryan Johnson's impending return and a gradual death to Michael Grabner's ice-time (4:19 toi), goals may become even harder to come by, which only adds pressure on #14 and #17 to perform at 100%.
If tonight was truly a "first date" like scenario, than Canucks fans have plenty of reasons to be concerned about the fate of this series-- After all, the first impression is what matters most.
For the Orca Zone, I'm Canorcas