Blackhawks Blank Canucks, Stay Alive
VANCOUVER (AP) Facing elimination once again, the Blackhawks scored two goals within 25 seconds of each other to run away with their second consecutive win.
Defenseman Duncan Keith had two goals and two assists and the Blackhawks stayed alive in their Stanley Cup title defense, routing Vancouver 5-0 on Thursday night to cut the Canucks’ lead to 3-2 in the first-round series.
Marian Hossa, with his first two goals of the series, and Patrick Kane, with his first, also scored, and rookie Corey Crawford made 36 saves for his first playoff shutout.
Since losing the first three games of the best-of-seven series, the ‘Hawks have dominated a Canucks team that it eliminated from the playoffs the last two seasons.
The Blackhawks won the fourth game 7-2 in Chicago, and returns home for Game 6 on Sunday looking to become the fourth team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.
Vancouver no longer looks like the team that won the Presidents’ Trophy with the best regular-season record. But there are lots of similarities to the squad that was knocked out the last two years while falling apart defensively.
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, pulled in the third period of Game 4 after giving up six goals, didn’t make it through the second period this time.
Luongo was pulled after giving up his fourth goal on 12 shots 1:26 into the second period, but it didn’t make a difference. Cory Schneider was beaten by the first shot he saw, Keith’s screened blast from the point.
The ‘Hawks played a second straight game without rugged defenseman Brent Seabrook, who sustained a concussion when he was shouldered in the head by Raffi Torres in Game 3, a blow the Blackhawks felt deserved a suspension. They rallied behind Seabrook’s absence- and Torres presence – in Game 4, and again Thursday, with Seabrook’s normal defensive partner, Keith, leading the way.
Crawford robbed Alex Burrows on an early power play, and Hossa, who only had one assist in the series, walked untouched into the high slot late in a Blackhawks advantage and snapped a shot past Luongo’s glove 5:54 into the game.
Keith doubled the lead 17 seconds later with a screened point shot, and a power-play point shot was tipped in by Kane — his first goal of the series — for a 3-0 lead 6 minutes after that.
Hossa ended Luongo’s night on a breakaway early in the second period, and Keith added his second goal — and fourth in three games.
This is the 18th time the ‘Hawks lost the first three games of playoff series, but the first time the Blackhawks have battled back to force a Game 6.
Notes: Crawford also had an assist, his second of the series, giving him more points than several key Canucks forwards. Vancouver made roster adjustments from Game 5, with Aaron Rome in for Keith Ballard, an apparent healthy scratch, as the sixth defenseman. C Cody Hodgson was back on the third line, and Torres was dropped down to the fourth line in place of LW Victor Oreskovich. Rome played 56 games in the regular season as the seventh defenseman, but dressed as a forward for Game 2.
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