Nick Leddy celebrates with Duncan Keith after scoring a goal during the first period.
Whether the Hawks pull off this miracle or not -- and there's such a long way to go -- they've showed what we thought they were capable of all year.
And whether the Canucks can pull themselves out of what is starting to look like a tailspin or not, they've showed what we thought they were capable of all year.
Which leaves me pretty much speechless.
We've waited for the Hawks to become the quick, puck-possession swaggering offensive force all year. Only now have they found that game. They're beating Canucks defensemen to pucks, and when they do, they create. They look much more assured when breaking out of their own zone, connecting on pass to pass and hitting the Canucks' line with speed and vigor. It has led to two victories that could scar the psyches of fans in BC.
We've waited all year for the Canucks to showcase that nutbar streak. Though they spent the entire season confidently striding through the hall, so eager to tell us how they were different now, that this was "their team, their time," we'd seen it far too often the past two seasons to fully believe it.
Surely they were going to fall apart at the first sign of danger. And there it is. You can excuse the Game 4 loss as a team that knew it had a Game 5 at home in its pocket. But this? When you have the axe in your hand and you drop it on your foot? The Canucks weren't moving their feet, they weren't hitting and when they bothered to, they were running out of position to do so, and they were dictated to. And they were mindless and petulant. That's not a killer instinct. It's a suicidal one.
Where does it go from here? Vancouver, and all of us, should realize they are still only playing one good game away from advancing. If the Canucks can turn it around in either Game 6 or 7, they will win. But who's counting on that?
And the Hawks know this. Which means we should see two better performances in the coming games than we've seen so far, at least if they're serious about this. It's still on a knife's edge for the Hawks. And they've rarely put three, much less, four sterling performances together this year. But is this the same Hawks team from the season, or a new weapon specifically unveiled for right now? And is this the same Canucks team from this year just in a dip, or the same weapon that misfired when the fight got rough the past two springs?
I don't know, and I don't think anyone does. We'll find out more Sunday.
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Blackhawks. You may have seen him hocking the magazine outside the United Center at Gate 3. The program is also available for purchase online. Fels is a lifelong 'Hawks fan and he also writes for Second City Hockey .