CHICAGO (CBS) The Chicago Blackhawks’ title defense ended on Tuesday night with an overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. It was a sudden and harsh ending to a series that saw Chicago fight back from a three-game deficit.
The Blackhawks were attempting to be only the fourth team in NHL history to win a playoffs series after trailing 3-0.
“Proud of the way we fought back and made it a series,” defenseman Duncan Keith said after the game. “But at the same time you can’t let yourself get down 3-0 in a series and expect everything to be easy. You dig yourself that big of a hole, it’s tough.”
As tough as the odds facing the Blackhawks were, the team rose to the occasion and completely turned the series on its head. Chicago dominated Games 4 and 5, driving Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo from both games.
After an overtime victory in Game 6, the Blackhawks stared history, and a Game 7 in the face. It was a point in the series that didn’t seem possible after the first three games.
“We battled hard,” Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford said. “I don’t think anyone would have believed we would have come back and forced Game 7.”
That nonexistent belief turned to full blown confidence that the Blackhawks would find a way to finish off a historic run.
Chicago had seemingly done everything in Games 4 through 6 that they hadn’t done in the first three games of the postseason. And in Game 7, their rookie goaltender had shutdown the Canucks after letting in an early goal.
Crawford’s 36-save performance deserved more than to end 5:22 into overtime by letting an Alexandre Burrows slapshot find the back of the net.
But the Stanley Cup Playoffs are as unpredictable as any sports tournament, and the Blackhawks got another reminder of that on Tuesday night.
“Just to come up, you know, just a little bit short is pretty shocking and disappointing,” Jonathan Toews said.