1 - 2 Final - OT
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Canucks beat Blackhawks in Game 7 OT, avoid unwanted history

Apr 27, 2011 - 6:45 AM
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks can breathe a little easier.

Alexandre Burrows saved them from making the worst type of NHL history.

Burrows gloved a Chicago turnover and scored on a knuckling slap shot 5:22 into overtime, lifting the Canucks to a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Blackhawks in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.

Back in net as the starter, Luongo surrendered a short-handed, game-tying goal to Chicago captain Jonathan Toews with just 1:56 remaining in regulation.

But he made his 31st and final save on Patrick Sharp's one-timer in overtime, and Burrows' second goal of the game kept the Canucks from becoming the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs.

"Obviously, we didn't script it this way," said Luongo. "But all year long, when our backs were against the wall, we responded. We played a massive game tonight and there was no better way to end it."

Vancouver, the league's best team in the regular season, moved on to face Nashville in the second round. The Canucks had been eliminated by Chicago in each of the last two postseasons.

Corey Crawford had 36 saves for Chicago and stopped Burrows' penalty shot in the third period. But the defending champion Blackhawks failed to join the 1942 Maple Leafs, 1975 Islanders and last year's Flyers as the only teams to rally from a 3-0 postseason deficit.

"Just coming up a little bit short, it's pretty shocking and disappointing," said Toews.

Chicago had tied the series with an overtime win in Game 6 on Sunday. Luongo was benched as the starter, but came in when Cory Schneider went down in the third period.

A Vezina finalist, Luongo stopped all 18 shots he faced in the first two periods on Tuesday and was nearing a shutout when Toews scored on Marian Hossa's rebound as he was falling to the ice in the slot.

On pins an needles, the Rogers Arena crowd fell silent after the goal.

Burrows picked them up.

Blackhawks defenseman Chris Campoli tried to clear the puck off the left boards, but Burrows knocked it down with his right hand, skated toward the right slot and beat Crawford stick-side for the winner.

"The puck was rolling, so I just wanted to make sure it was going on net. Those are tough shots for goalies. They can go anywhere," said Burrows.

The Canucks celebrated in a pile in front of their bench, with Luongo laying flat on his back.

Burrows nearly had three goals. He got behind the defense and was dragged down by Duncan Keith for a penalty shot just 21 seconds into the third period. But Crawford easily stopped the low shot with his right pad.

Indeed, both goaltenders came up big in key spots.

Luongo stuck his left pad out to make two saves with about eight minutes remaining in regulation. Game 6 hero Ben Smith slapped at a loose puck on the first shot, and Marcus Kruger tried to stuff in the rebound but was denied.

About three minutes later, Crawford made three straight saves to keep it a one-goal game -- he was on his stomach for the last one, reaching his glove up to stop Ryan Kesler's try from the right side.

Vancouver went on the power play with 3:17 left in the third when Keith hooked Burrows from behind on the left side -- Toews scored his shorthanded goal moments later -- and Chicago had a man-advantage in overtime after Burrows was whistled for holding Keith behind the Chicago net.

Vancouver took its 1-0 lead just 2:43 into the game when Kesler skated down the left side and dropped a pass into the slot for Burrows, who was wide-open for the one-timer.

The teams were even strength, but it looked like the Canucks were on a power play in the final minutes of the second period as they cycled the puck around the zone and peppered the Chicago net with shots.

The Blackhawks finally got a stoppage, drawing their breaths after a 1-on-2 ended with Crawford gloving a benign shot and holding on. Crawford had 15 saves in the period.

"We battled hard," said Crawford. "I don't think anyone would have believed we would have come back to force a Game 7."

Game Notes

The Blackhawks beat Philadelphia in last year's Stanley Cup finals...Chicago played without forward Bryan Bickell, who was sidelined following wrist surgery...Vancouver improved to 6-4 in Game 7s, while the Blackhawks fell to 5-5...Chicago eliminated the Canucks in the conference semifinals in 2009 and '10.