Before the hockey post mortem in Vancouver gets too far and the team is ripped apart and dissected as though Quincy was on the scene, it's probably prudent to step back and consider that, while there were some self-inflicted wounds in the playoffs, the Canucks are finished because they were struck down by a superior foe.
The Blackhawks were better in too many games and too many ways.
The top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien had 26 points in six games. Toews and Byfuglien had had tricks and the line collected 13 points on the power play.
Byfuglien who came into the series as the most talked about three-goal scorer in playoff history, scored four times and became a pre-occupation for the Canucks, especially their goaltender and Vancouver just couldn't seem to deal with his size.
The checking line (rat pack) of Dave Bolland, Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg poked prodded and jabbed the Canucks' Sedin line into distraction. Daniel took four penalties, Henrik three and if you weren't sure the Swedes were ticked off, it was affirmed when Mikael Samuelsson took two minors and a misconduct taking out his frustrations when all was said and done in the third period of Game 6.
Head coach Joel Quenneville was hired because Blackhawks management thought it needed an experienced boss to get the most out of a talented but youthful group. He did his job with a game plan that included distracting Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and making adjustments.
Quenneville put Byfuglien with Kane and Toews in Game 2, fashioned the checking line centred by Bolland and most of all, when he realized he was getting the upper hand, he steadfastly stuck with his matchups and got them at home and on the road.
But more than anything else, Quenneville had Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook on defence when they returned from another planet in Game 2 the series started to change. Seabrook was the most physical player in the series and Keith the smoothest and most poised. The Canucuks couldn't or didn't hit them and didn't have an answer for the pair once they started to play like Olympians.
As for the Canucks self destruction, there were plenty of reasons. How do you figure a team that had the best home record in the west losing three straight in their building for the first time all year and giving up 17 goals in the process?
A team that was excellent on the power play and decent at penalty killing at home gave up 17 power play goals in 12 playoff games and a pair of back-breaking shorties. The fact they couldn't kill a penalty should have cost them the first round and did cost them the second.
Part of the penalty-killing problem was not getting the big save. Luongo gave up just two goals in the Canucks two wins but 19 in four losses. Chicago newcomer Anti Niemi outplayed him on the same ice where Roberto won gold.
Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler had 60 goals between them this season but only four in the post-season, and two of those were into an empty net. Had those two scored more the pressure might have come off the Sedins, who will be sliced, diced and fricasseed on the West Coast for being too soft, too distracted and too much alike.
The Canucks were stretched paper thin on defence and the loss of Willie Mitchell was either misread, underestimated or couldn't be addressed. His absence didn't cost Vancouver the series but his presence wouldn't have hurt.
In the end, there is plenty to analyze and plenty of blame but the Blackhawks beat Vancouver on the same date as last year (May 11) in the same number of games (six) scoring the same number of goals (23).
It wasn't a great series because all but one of the games were lopsided but once again the right team won.
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