Calling All Skeletons - Hawks at Canucks Game 5 Preview, Pregame Thread, Defibrillation
Game time: 9:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: CSN/CSN+ (Local), Versus (US), CBC (Anglophone), RDS (Francophone), WGN-AM 720
Do You Know What "Nemesis" Means?: Nucks Misconduct, Orland Kurtenblog
As gratifying as Tuesday's 7-2 pecker slapping of the Canucks was, the fact still remains that they're in the driver's seat in this series, needing only to win 1 of the next 3 games, 2 of them at home. And it still holds true that any Hawk advancement would have needed to come as a result of a Canuck diaper-filling, let alone now having to count on delusions of grandeur and what would end up having to be the greatest collapse in the history of professional sports. But, there were some cracks that were exposed as a result of Tuesday's game, where it could be argued that the Canucks flat out quit by the 3rd, hoping to regroup and put the Hawks to the sword on home ice. Once the game was slipping away from the Canucks, AV's boys once again resorted to running around and yapping, which resulted in Patrick Sharp power play goals piling onto the lead. Kevin Bieksa simply can't get out of his own way when it comes to jawing on the ice and in the media. Roberto Luongo finally became the Roberto Luongo we all recognized from the previous two post seasons, though he was certainly done no favors by the skaters in front of him, who couldn't be bothered to win a board battle to save their lives. Perhaps most importantly was that the top line of Henrik Sedin, brother Daniel, and discharge Alex Burrows were a combined -8 finally having to face Dave Bolland for an entire game once again. The Canucks figure to come out tonight with the same blitzkrieg the Hawks faced in game 1, looking to gain a lead early and coast from there on out, because everyone, including the Canucks themselves, realize that the longer this series goes, all of the mental creepy-crawlies will come out for AV and the boys. Once again, the pressure falls to the Canucks to deliver the death blow as the hockey world waits.
As for the Men of Four Feathers, in a season of infuriating mediocrity masked as competence by backing into situations they probably shouldn't find themselves in, it seems only fitting that they would have one more opportunity to prolong it after fully evaporating any margin for error. Tonight's lineup will be the same as Tuesday's, because though Brent Seabrook made the trip to Vancouver, it seems he was unable to follow the blinking light well enough this afternoon to play, which means we again get at least one more heaping helping of John Scott's idiocy. Of paramount importance tonight will be the line changes, as coach Q will assuredly try to get Dave Bolland out to face Tomax and Xamot at any and every turn. Should Patrick Sharp remain at center (as we've been calling for), this should free up either his line or Toews and Kane from Ryan Kesler, who had been eating souls prior to game 4. But even if that's the case, Toews, Kane, Hossa, and to a certain extent Sharp (whose goals have all come on the advantage) have to make the matchups count and actually register on the score sheet. The Hawks can't continue to count on 4 goals from the 3rd line if they hope to keep this series going. Quite simply, the names have to be the names and rise to the occasion as we've seen them do before.
But perhaps the biggest key of all tonight is going to be the first goal. The natives on hand at Rogers are going to be baying for blood from the first puck drop on, and the Canucks are going to do their absolute best to give it to them as quickly as possible. Not only weathering the storm, but counter-punching it with an early goal from the Hawks will cause the audible sound of 18,860 sphincters clenching simultaneously. Win races, bury chances, absorb hits, and rise to the occasion. If they truly are going to advance, then make them earn every inch of their own ice and prove that it's theirs. Let's go Hawks.