Hawks' Mental Prep Key in Victory

Much the same way the Canucks ruined Blackhawks fans’ night 10 days ago in Chicago, the favor was returned in a lopsided 5-1 loss at Rogers arena in Vancouver.

Ryan Kesler was in a particularly feisty mood Wednesday night, and here Bryan Bickell is on the receiving end (photo thanks to Rich Lam/ Getty Images)

Frustration continues to mount for a Canuck team that enjoyed so much success last season, particularly in the confines of Rogers arena.  Perhaps the single largest thing eluding the club has been a measure of consistency, and the team acknowledges the deficiency in that department.  Winger Chris Higgins spoke to the teams desire to find their groove, and maintain it.

We’ve got to find ways to string  some wins together.  We’ve been talking about that for a couple of weeks now.  It hasn’t happened yet.

Backup Cory Schneider was beaten 5 times in the loss, replacing Roberto Luongo who sustained an upper body injury during Sundays tilt with the Islanders.  The Canucks ended their recent 6 game roadtrip with a .500 record, and after tonight’s loss sit at 9-9-1 on the season.  Meanwhile, the Blackhawks improved their NHL best record to 12-4-3, on the strength of their fourth straight win.  The Blackhawks are off to their best start since 1982-83.

The Blackhawks learned their lesson from 10 days ago, when the Canucks punished them for taking penalties, converting 5 of 6 opportunities.  The Canucks were held without a single powerplay, which many observers felt was curious.  But it certainly was by design, with head coach Joel Quenneville putting a premium on disciplined play.   He spoke to their intentions to negate Vancouver’s 26.7 % conversion rate with the man advantage:

We saw what can happen when you put them on the powerplay.  Their powerplay is as hot as anybody’s has been for stretches over the years.  That’s how good it is, and our focus was let’s concentrate on being disciplined and staying out of the box.

Daniel Sedin gets some extra attention after sniffing for a rebound off of Corey Crawford (photo courtesy of Rich Lam/ Getty Images)

Apparently, all of Chicago’s stars have bought into the program.  Patrick Kane, a recipient of one of Marian Hossa’s 3 assists on the night, talked about the atmosphere on the ice.  He told reporters that the game didn’t have as much bite as it normally does.

But there’s still stuff behind the whistles and stuff you guys don’t see.  But that’s part of the way we want to come and play it – keep it tame and try to get them frustrated a little bit.  It’s good we keep building on leads.  We’ve been scoring a lot of goals lately which is good and hopefully we keep it up… definitely a good time for us in here.

The Canucks will now regroup and focus on entertaining the Ottawa Senators (identical record, 9-9-1) on Sunday at Rogers arena.

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Chris Higgins Cory Schneider Joel Quenneville Jonathan Toews Patrick Kane Patrick Sharp Rogers Arena Ryan Kesler Vancouver Canucks

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