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Roberto Luongo and the Canucks struggled to close out the eighth-seeded Blackhawks
The Vancouver Canucks did what only six teams before them had by blowing a 3-0 series lead. But they took the series in the final home game to advance.
The good news is that the previous three that blew the lead but won the series went on to win Lord Stanley's Cup. The bad news is they did not have to win three series afterward, and no team that needed seven games to advance in the first round has won hockey's holy grail since the 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins.
How they nearly lost tells us all we need to know about this team. It is one thing to not show up on the road when you have a 3-0 lead and the other team has lost one of the game's best defensemen. It is quite another to follow that embarrassment with another no-show, five-goal loss at home.
The Canucks were 4-1 in the games they competed in because they were that much better. If you lack the killer instinct to take out the team that ended your last two seasons, you do not have what it takes to win a title.
Moreover, they will face better opposition in the conference finals, as both teams feature more scoring lines than the cap-strapped Blackhawks did. Both also have the playoff experience. The Detroit Red Wings have won two of the last three conference titles and swept their first round opponent; the San Jose Sharks would be in their second-consecutive conference final and won three of the six games played in overtime, and they came back from a four-goal deficit.