Incredible hockey game. A punch, counter-punch type affair but in the end the Blackhawks had a horseshoe in their back pocket.
Corey Schneider was a late surprise starter for Alain Vigneault. Schneider did pretty well until two and a half minutes into the third period when he pulled a muscle while attempting to stop Michael Frolik’s penalty shot score. That tied the game 3-3 after Kevin Bieksa put the Canucks up 3-2 a minute into the third frame. Roberto Luongo was sharp in relief, stopping 12 Hawks shots, 10 in overtime, until the Niklas Hjalmarsson shot Luongo seemed surprised by rebounded to overtime hero Ben Smith. Marian Hossa made the game-winner happen but it was the line of Bolland-Bickell and Frolik that carried Chicago as they did in Game 4.
In a scene straight out of the parallel universe, a huge Dave Bolland check behind the Vancouver net led to Bryan Bickell’s goal, tying the game 1-1 late in the first. Bolland struck a lucky puck twenty minutes later to answer Alex Burrows’ lead-taking tally after Corey Schneider coughed the puck up to Patrick Kane behind his goal.
Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows (first goal and second point of the series for him) were the other Vancouver scorers. Sedin was first to the scoresheet, putting the Nucks up 1-0 early in the game after a horrible defensive play by Niklas Hjalmarsson. A nice 25-foot wrister by Burrows beat Corey Crawford’s right pad from the slot.
In this game, the Blackhawks blew a minute and forty-three second 5 on 3 man advantage and went scoreless in 6:17 of power play time overall; Patrick Kane blundered a clear breakaway straight out of the penalty box and the ‘Hawks played the 75-minute game a man-short (John Scott dressed and skated less than a minute; coach’s decision).
Go figure. Vancouver played a great road game and still lost. Luck probably runs out for the Hawks in Vancouver. Or, maybe not. Doesn’t matter. The hockey was great. Vancouver’s still the better team and capable of raising their game a notch. But the Hawks have better big-game performers. Chicago can’t play the no-pressure card anymore. They’ve won 3 in a row, have the Canucks on the ropes, play very well in Vancouver and have the Canucks’ number historically. Everyone is anticipating Vancouver to choke and they’ll need a Vezina-like performance from a supposedly ailing Roberto Luongo to win Game 7. Should be fun.
Game 7 Tuesday night in Vancouver. Game time is now listed as 9pm central/7 pacific. Versus broadcast nationally, ComcastSportsNet in Chicago. Since the Chicago Bulls game Tuesday night starts at 7pm and is likely to run until around 9:30, the beginning of the Hawks-Canucks game will be shown on CSN-Plus.