3 - 4 Final - OT
  for this game

Blackhawks top Canucks in OT, force Game 7

Apr 25, 2011 - 5:56 AM
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Rookie Ben Smith scored the game-winner with 4 1/2 minutes remaining in overtime, as the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks staved off elimination again with a 4-3 victory over the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of their Western Conference quarterfinal set at United Center.

Dave Bolland had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who have won three straight games to even the series at 3-3. Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik also scored.

Corey Crawford made 32 saves for Chicago, which will try to become the fourth NHL team in history to rally from a 3-0 deficit and win the series.

Alexandre Burrows had a goal and two assists for the Canucks, who have been eliminated from the postseason by the Blackhawks in each of the last two years. Both times Chicago ousted the Canucks in six games during the conference semifinals.

Daniel Sedin and Kevin Bieksa also lit the lamp for Vancouver, which has been outscored by a 16-5 margin over the last three games.

The story of the game was Vancouver's decision to start Cory Schneider over Roberto Luongo, who was pulled from the last two contests. Making his first career playoff start, Schneider stopped 17-of-20 shots before leaving early in the third period with an injury. Luongo played the rest of the game and turned aside 12-of-13 shots.

"All year long we've used both goaltenders and I'll tell you the truth, I went with a gut, I thought Cory could give us a good game tonight," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said.

Game 7 will take place in Vancouver on Tuesday.

With time winding down in the first overtime, Niklas Hjalmarsson fired a shot on net from the point. Smith, who played in just six regular season games, used his backhand to jam home the rebound for the thrilling victory.

"I really just wanted to get to the front of the net," Smith said. "Hjalmarsson made a great hard shot and the rebound was right there for me."

Crawford made 12 saves in the overtime period.

Sedin's wrap-around goal 2:06 into the game gave Vancouver the early lead.

Chicago tied the game at the 14:57 mark. Bolland's big hit on Dan Hamhuis created a turnover in front of Schneider and Bickell was right there to put the puck into the back of the net.

Burrows gave the Canucks a 2-1 edge with 1:12 remaining in the opening frame, gathering a bouncing puck and firing a wrister past Crawford.

The Blackhawks failed to score on a 5-on-3 power play at the midway mark of the second.

But Bolland found the back of the net with 4:52 left. Schneider played the puck behind his own net, but fed the disc to Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks. Kane passed to the slot for Bolland, whose one-timer beat Schneider for a 2-2 game.

Off-setting minors at the end of the middle frame set up a 4-on-4 to start the third.

Vancouver took advantage of the open ice, scoring 58 seconds into the third. Mason Raymond's slapper from the right circle left a rebound in front and Bieksa chipped the puck into the net for a 3-2 lead.

But Bieksa made a big mistake at the 2:31 mark, tripping Frolik on a breakaway. Frolik scored on the penalty shot to tie things up. Schneider did a split and immediately favored his right leg, which brought Luongo into the game.

It was the first successful penalty shot in Chicago playoff history.

Game Notes

Chicago and Vancouver have met two other times in the postseason in addition to their 2009 and 2010 semifinal bouts, and the Blackhawks own a 3-1 edge all- time against the Canucks in the playoffs...Chicago recorded a 7-2 home victory in Game 4 and then slammed the Canucks by a 5-0 margin when the clubs met on Thursday...Both teams failed to score on the power play...Smith has three goals in the series after scoring once in the regular season...Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook returned to the lineup Sunday after missing the last two games.