Alain Vigneault is correct when he says that the Vancouver Canucks played their best game of the series in Game 6.
The disheartening part is that the coach and the Canucks still lost, and are now on the verge of the biggest collapse in NHL history. The Presidents' Trophy winners have to play Game 7 Tuesday, when their season will be on the line. Their hearts have little time to heal, and their heads have little time to clear.
All the talk that the Canucks are a more hardened group, and better equipped to deal with adversity, will receive its sternest test yet.
Some other impressions on Game 6...
Fantastic goal early in the third to stake his team to a 3-2 lead, and he has a real gripe about that non-call on Bryan Bickell in overtime. Bickell not only hit Bieksa square in the head, it looked like the Hawks winger seized up and targeted the defenceman's noggin. Of course, it was behind the net -- aka the concussion zone -- where dangerous hits are apparently legal as per the NHL's make-it-up-as-we-go-along mantra.
We're still searching for Ryan Kesler, who is on the cusp of squandering a sensational regular season with a no-show playoffs, but Alex Burrows finally broke out with a goal and two assists, and as a group, the Canucks were dangerous. They put 35 shots on goal, had 31 blocked, and missed the net 19 times. That's 85 shots directed at net, and more often than not, that's good enough to win.
The rookie goaltender was brutal in the early going. He allowed two goals on Vancouver's first four shots, and looked like he would finally play a poor game. But as the contest churned on, the Montreal native improved. And in overtime, his clean catches of the puck prevented the Canucks from scoring on a rebound. Matter of fact, he could teach a certain Vancouver goaltender a thing or two about catching technique.
Sometimes it's a misleading stat, while other times it is the tell-tale measure of a team's desperation and desire. Put Chicago's total -- 31-- in the latter category.