VANCOUVER -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series:
How it happened: Despite scoring an improbable shorthanded goal with 1:56 left in regulation, the Hawks came up short when Alex Burrows stole a puck on a clearing attempt by Chris Campoli in the Hawks’ zone and fired it past Corey Crawford. An early first period score by Burrows after Ryan Kesler beat Duncan Keith almost held up as the Hawks were stuck in mud on offense most of the night. Joel Quenneville switched up his lines throughout the second half of the game as several players had off nights, including Patrick Kane. The score would have been worse if not for Corey Crawford, who played his best game of the series. The Hawks were outshot 15-6 in the second period and in their own zone for lengthy periods of time but Crawford was excellent. Roberto Luongo was challenged at times but played a very smooth game despite giving up some early rebounds. He never panicked but didn’t see the traffic in front of him as in previous Hawks’ victories. Toews’ first goal of the series tied the game but it wasn’t enough.
What it means: The year ends just short of a historic comeback. In the end the Hawks played great in two of the seven games, not enough to win a series but enough to come close. It means the season came up short but the playoff series turned out to be one the Hawks can at least take some pride in. It also means a longer summer of rest for several stars, including Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa. They need it most.
What’s next: It might not be as busy an offseason as first thought. There is a good chance the Hawks will keep their six main defensemen and on offense Ben Smith, Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger seem to be keepers. Look for Crawford to sign a multiyear deal to stay with the team as well. A decision has to be made on restricted free agent Troy Brouwer and to a lesser extent on Tomas Kopecky.