CHICAGO (AP) — If it wasn’t clear before, Dave Bolland’s importance to the Chicago Blackhawks is now very obvious.
Bolland returned to the Chicago lineup after missing 17 games with a concussion and had a goal and three assists Tuesday night as the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks avoided being swept, routing the Vancouver Canucks 7-2.
Vancouver still leads 3-1 in the first-round series that heads back to the Rogers Arena for Game 5 on Thursday night.
Chicago’s Patrick Sharp scored two power-play goals in a chippy final period that featured pushing, shoving, jawing and a fight between Vancouver’s Kevin Bieska and Chicago’s Victor Stalberg.
The Blackhawks got an offensive lift from their defensemen as Brian Campbell and Duncan Keith scored 17 seconds apart in a four-goal second period.
Bryan Bickell had a goal 1:43 into the game as Chicago finally solved Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, who may have been shaken up making a save late in the opening period. He was pulled in the final period.
Michael Frolic scored on a breakway after a pass from Bolland to give Chicago a 5-1 lead in the second. Sharp’s first power-play goal early in the third put the Blackhawks up five and just more than a minute later, with 15:55 left in the game, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault replaced Luongo with Cory Schneider.
Sami Salo scored on a power play for the Canucks in the first period and Daniel Sedin added a power-play goal on a tip-in in the final period.
Chicago played without top defenseman Brent Seabrook, who was ruled out after taking a hard hit from Raffi Torres in Game 3, a blow to the head that many of the Blackhawks thought merited a suspension. And the Hawks took a few early shots at Torres, especially Keith, Seabrook’s usual mate on the blue line.
With the game tied at 1-1 and seconds after a Chicago power play had expired, Campbell took a nifty pass from Patrick Kane and with Jonathan Toews in front of him, scored from the left circle to make it 2-1.
And 17 seconds later, Keith rifled in a shot from between the circles for a 3-1 lead as the United Center erupted.
Later in the period, Bolland picked up a loose puck in the left circle, made a nice fake and then scored Chicago’s third goal of the period for a 4-1 lead.
Playing for the first time since March 9, Bolland later reached a loose puck and shoveled it up ice to Frolik, who then beat Luongo one-on-one to make it 5-1.
Bickell, who missed Game 3 after hurting his wrist in Game 2, beat Bieska on a cut from the right wing, skated across the crease and tucked it in past Luongo for his first career playoff goal.
But three minutes later, the Canucks got even.
Salo’s long slap shot on the power play with Alexandre Burrows and Chris Higgins trying to screen Crawford appeared to hit Campbell and went in the net.
Luoungo had 12 first-period saves. He had a nice stop on Stalberg’s rebound attempt from right in front and another save when the puck flew up in the air after a slapper from John Scott. But his best came in the final minute on a shot by Bickell when the Canucks goalie sat on the puck and with his arms pinned behind him kept it from going in.
Luongo grimaced after the play and then skated gingerly to the bench at the end of the period.
Notes: Chicago G Crawford got a rare assist on Campell’s goal for making the initial pass to Kane. … The four points were a career-high for Bolland. … Torres and Chicago’s Scott were given 10-minute misconducts in the final period. … Daniel Sedin has four goals in the four games.
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