Blackhawks-Canucks: Breaking News! Roberto Luongo Is Human After All

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IMay 1, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 18:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the game on March 18, 2009 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks just finished a tough, physical, six-game series against the Calgary Flames less that a week ago.

The Vancouver Canucks swept the St. Louis Blues out of the playoffs, allowing only five goals in four games. They had over a week off.

The Blackhawks are the youngest team in the NHL; the Canucks have playoff experience all over their roster.

The series opened in Vancouver, where the fans were ready after their long break between series to welcome the youngsters from Chicago to the second round.

Oh, have I mentioned that these two teams hate each other?

The Canucks got out to the start they had hoped for, opening the scoring with a power-play goal in the first period and extending to an eventual 3-0 lead in front of the hottest goaltender in the game. They were looking the part of the experienced veteran team, and Luongo looked dominant.

Then Patrick Kane found the back of the net.

The defending Calder Trophy-winner had been struggling to get his wheels back under him since the beginning of the calendar year, and had even taken fire from some Hawks fans for needing to be the offensive presence he was before Christmas (ahem, I'm raising my hand... guilty...).

After Kane scored two goals in the Calgary series, despite getting hit pretty hard a few times, he showed signs of warming back up.

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Then he opened the scoring for the Hawks against the seemingly impenetrable Luongo.

As the third period progressed, the television commentators on Versus noted that it was the young Blackhawks that seemed to have the energy and momentum on their side. Even down 3-1, the Hawks appeared to be dominating the third period.

And then Kane scored again, this time on a rebound. Followed by a goal from Dave Bolland. Suddenly, behind Kane's shooting, the young, inexperienced Hawks had tied the Canucks, and Luongo, in Vancouver 3-3 late in the third period.

Yes, the Hawks gave up a tough goal late and an empty net goal at the end of regulation to close Game One with a 5-3 loss. But the fight and persistence they showed in coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the seemingly invincible Luongo could, and should, go miles in growing the already swelling confidence of the young team from Chicago.

Not only did the Hawks score three goals in one period against Luongo, but arguably the most important part of the Hawks offensive puzzle, Kane, got off to a strong start in the series.

As the series moves forward, and as players like Jonathan Toews, Martin Havlat, Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp get their offensive games together, this young Hawks team could become more than the handful they were in Game One on Thursday night.

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