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What the Blackhawks can do to win Game 2 against Canucks

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



VANCOUVER, British Columbia — If the Vancouver Canucks out-tough, outhit and outplay the Blackhawks again and win Game 2 tonight, some might think the first-round series will be all but over.

With that in mind, trailing in a playoff series isn’t uncharted territory for the Hawks’ best players, the ones who played a ton in Game 1 and will be put under the microscope as the series continues.

‘‘I don’t think we get too uptight,’’ defenseman Brian Campbell said Thursday at Rogers Arena. ‘‘It’s a long series. We’ve been through this stuff. It’s one game. They deserved to win Game 1, and now you’ve got to counterpunch them.

‘‘In the playoffs, you’ve got to adapt to each game and change the way you play, fix some things you did wrong. I’m sure they’ll try to fix some things, too.’’

It’s the Hawks’ opening effort, their reaction to adversity and their unwillingness to stand in front of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo consistently that need fixing.

Still, when adversity strikes the Hawks, many of their best players — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — have a tendency to respond. The team should follow suit.

The Hawks lost Game 1 of their last two playoff series against the Canucks. They also trailed in the second games before exploding offensively for dramatic, series-defining victories. The opening games were forgotten.

‘‘Last year in Game 1 against Vancouver, we got beat 5-1,’’ Campbell said. ‘‘[Against] Nashville, we didn’t fare too well. For some reason, we tend to get off to a little bit of a bumpy start. There are no excuses for that. .  .  . [But] that’s the situation we’re in [again].’’

This is a different team, though, and there are real doubts about whether the Hawks have enough players with the brass and mentality do that this postseason. Still, they deserve some credit, especially rookie goalie Corey Crawford.

The Hawks weren’t blown out of Rogers Arena by this very different and highly praised Canucks team in Game 1. They really were only outplayed in the first period, when the Canucks came out hell-bent on hitting everything in sight.

‘‘I don’t think Game 1 by any means was a lopsided game,’’ defenseman Chris Campoli said. ‘‘We had our chances, just like they did. We have to get a little more traffic and make things tougher on Luongo and hopefully get a couple behind him.

‘‘We need to get off to a better start. I wouldn’t say we were intimidated, but we were a step behind at the beginning of the game. You can tell they took things to us early. We want to get off to a better start. That’s going to be key going into Game 2. We know that.’’

After spending days talking about it, the really disconcerting thing was the lack of a sustained attack on Luongo in Game 1. The Canucks’ hitting ways might have set the tone in the opener, but the lack of traffic in front of Luongo defined it.

‘‘Dirty’’ goals were never a staple of the Hawks’ offense this season, despite countless calls for their need. But the only way they’re going to take down Luongo is by getting them. It should come as no surprise that some of their best chances Wednesday came when they were close to him.

‘‘We need at least somebody in front of him,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We need second opportunities and more of a net-front presence than we saw [Wednesday] night.

‘‘We were on the receiving end of all aspects of the game. We know we need to be more intense. We have to be harder to play against. We made it too easy for them.’’

Both teams said they expect more from themselves and the opposition.

‘‘It’s Game 1, that’s all it is,’’ Luongo said. ‘‘It’s a long series. We really haven’t accomplished anything but win the first game. We know [tonight] is going to be a tougher night for us. We have to make sure we bring the same compete level as [Wednesday] night. .  .  . I’m sure [tonight] there will be a more conscientious effort from their side to bring more bodies to the net.’’



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