05/08/2010 8:26 AM
- From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)
VANCOUVER -- Any time Daniel Sedin is going to the penalty box twice in a 48-second span, something is extremely wrong in the world of the Vancouver Canucks.
After making sure to turn the other cheek in the first two games of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks spent a better part of Games 3 and 4 at GM Place losing their discipline and taking ill-advised penalties. It resulted in two lopsided losses and now the Canucks are in a 3-1 series hole heading back to Chicago for a must-win Game 5 Sunday (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).
Sedin took 28 penalty minutes in 63 regular-season games. In the last two playoff games, he's taken three costly minors. The two he took in Game 4 led directly to Chicago goals and put the Canucks in a deficit from which there was no escape.
"I don’t know if I lost my composure," said Sedin, who most definitely lost his composure when he tried to fight Dave Bolland at the start of a Canucks power play in Game 3. "First one, I took (Brent) Seabrook to the net and he fell down. I don’t what happened there.
"The second penalty, I shouldn't put myself in that situation, but my stick is broken and (Kris Versteeg) runs into me. It cost us the game."
Goaltender Roberto Luongo, who got away with a trip of Blackhawks big man Dustin Byfuglien in the first period Friday, was at a loss to explain the change in attitude for the Canucks over the past two games.
"We lost our composure again," Luongo said. "I don’t know why it happened. We were all on the same page before the game started, and I don’t know. One thing led to another, and we lost our composure again."
It's one thing to take a lot of senseless penalties when you're penalty-killing units are getting the job done. But when you're killing power plays at a League-low 65 percent clip, all those penalties become season killers. The Canucks have allowed 17 power-play goals in 48 chances, and seven power-play goals to the Blackhawks in four games.
"Your best penalty kill is discipline," said Ryan Johnson, who was on the ice for three of the Blackhawks' four power-play goals in Game 4. “We wanted them to try and be the better individuals, and us be the better team.
"Right now, we’re just feeding right into their game plan."
The Blackhawks are hardly taking any joy in -- or credit for -- the mental breakdowns with the Canucks.
"Over and over I'm being asked about that, and why they're doing certain things, but that's not really our concern," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Our concern is what they're best players can do in our zone and we don't want to let them do those things. We want to focus on our game."
If the Canucks are to erase this deficit, something needs to change. Personnel? Strategy? Coach Alain Vigneault sounds like he's willing to employ just about any tactic he can.
"At the end of the day, you've got to trust your players are going to do the right thing at the right time, they're going to make the right plays," Vigneault said. "Take the hits for the benefit of their teammates and the fans, you trust they're going to do that.
"Obviously tonight we didn't."
And if they don't start doing that Sunday night, this series could be over.