Weird things tend to happen during the playoffs.
For instance, it’s probably the only time you’ll see grown men in hockey jerseys walk around with brooms.
Unfortunately ladies, it’s not because they finally decided to get off the couch and help out around the house.
No, if you see such a sight Tuesday in Vancouver, it’s because the Canucks are one win away from sweeping their rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. And that, apparently, is enough reason for fans to bring the brooms back out.
The Canucks have the ’Hawks on the brink of elimination, up 3-0 in the best-of-seven first-round series. As if you didn’t know.
A victory would complete Vancouver’s second four-game sweep in franchise history. Two years ago, they needed just four games to dispatch the St. Louis Blues in the first round. In 1982, they also knocked off Calgary 3-0.
They’ll be looking to do it again, this time against the defending Stanley Cup champions and a frustrated Chicago team desperate for a win. If the ’Hawks have any hope of pulling out a ‘W’, they will need their top guns to come out firing in Game 4 Tuesday at the United Center.
The top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have a combined three points in the series, all in Game 3, while Patrick Kane has two assists. The numbers equal that of Daniel Sedin, who alone has five points, including three goals. Vancouver, in contrast, has received contributions throughout the lineup with 12 players getting at least a point.
Pair that with strong goaltending from Roberto Luongo and it’s no surprise the Canucks are now just one win away from advancing to the conference semifinals.
Playing the body
What has been revealing during this series is Vancouver’s ability to step up their physicality come the post-season.
Prior to Monday’s games, the Canucks led the NHL with 130 hits over three games, 20 more than the second-ranked New York Rangers. In comparison, Vancouver had finished 20th in hits during the regular season. Leading the way is Ryan Kesler with 14 hits, tied for second overall behind Alex Ovechkin.