If you watched the Canucks beat the Blackhawks Wednesday night you probably also saw the Canucks beat up on the Blackhawks as well.
It was quite the physical affair for the Canucks as they out-muscled, out-hit, out-maneuvered, and plain ole’ out-hustled the Blackhawks all night long during the opening game of their first round series.
Without Dustin Byfuglien this Blackhawks team just didn’t look like the physical teams of years past that eliminated the Canucks from the playoffs the past two seasons.
The final stats of the night showed that the Canucks officially out-hit the Blackhawks 47-21. You get more than double the amount of hits against your opponent and that’s going to stay in the back of the opponent’s mind when the next game comes around.
Forward Tanner Glass told the media after a practice Thursday that, “we’re going to try to hit those guys any chance we get.”
He also singled out the top Blackhawks who log a lot of ice-time during games in defenceman Duncan Keith, and forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He knows that the more you hit them the more tired they’ll get during those final minutes of the game when they have to find as much energy out of nowhere that they can.
Glass actually said as much: “Those guys are playing a ton of minutes. Any time you get to bump them, it’s going to wear them down. That goes a long ways in a long series.”
The top hitmen for the Canucks during game one were trade deadline pick-up centre Maxim Lapierre with eight hits and recently returned to the line-up defenceman Alex Edler with seven hits. He was out with back surgery and this was his second game back.
The Canucks were also taking advantage of the fact that the Blackhawks played five games in the last eight nights. Don’t expect coach Alain Vigneault to hit the brakes on the Canucks’ more physical playing style.