The Blackhawks not only survived one more day with their
big win in game four, they did in emphatic fashion to gain some momentum for
game five. I expect the puck and net to see plenty of each other tonight.
With a 7-2 win, not only did their offensive stars wake up,
they also shook the confidence of Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo by
putting six goals behind him and sending him to the bench.
Was that just an aberration or can the Blackhawks really
put a scare into the Canucks and revive this NHL playoff series?
Blackhawks Can Win Because…:
They channeled all of their frustration into a quality
effort and a big win.
Their main offensive weapons finally had a big impact as
Patrick Sharp scored a pair of goals, Patrick Kane notched a pair of assists
while Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews each registered a point.
Dave Bolland returned from injury and in his first game
in the series, he notched a career playoff-high four points. He proved a spark
for the secondary scoring units and ravaged both the Canucks blue line and
their goaltender, Luongo.
It’s not that Luongo had been bulletproof throughout the
first three games of the series but when the Canucks needed him, he had slammed
the door shut on the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 4 was different as they scored six goals
on Luongo and sent him to the bench in favor of backup Corey Schneider. There’s
no doubt that their seven-goal output will not only give them confidence for
Game 5 but also ruminate in the mind of Luongo.
That may be the opening the Blackhawks need to turn this series
Canucks Can Win Because…:
They were extremely undisciplined in Game 4.
The Canucks took 11 periods in the third period,
including three 10-minute misconducts along with Ryan Kesler hitting the
showers early as well because of his late fight in the third period with Viktor
It was the first game of the series that the Canucks
didn’t take it to the Blackhawks. For the first time, it was the Blackhawks who
outhit the Canucks and set the level of intensity. Back at home, in front of
their home fans, the Canucks should be able to get back on track.
Game 4 was merely a desperate effort from the Blackhawks
and even though they looked strong, the truth is that there is a reason why
they fell into a three-game hole to begin with.
As long as the Canucks play smart, get a better
performance from Luongo and ramp up the intensity, they should be able to put
the Blackhawks to bed.
Outlook & NHL
While some people feel that Raffi Torres’ dirty hit on
Brent Seabrook in Game 3 – which went unpunished by the NHL – woke the
Blackhawks up. While it did temporarily, the reality is that they still have
plenty of flaws.
Game 5 will be tight as the Blackhawks are fighting for
their lives while the Canucks won’t be as sloppy as they were in Game 4.
It’s too high of a price to lay on the Canucks for this
contest, though. Given the fact that the series has opened up with 21 goals in
the last three games, bet over the 5.5 total at the NHL betting window on Thursday.