Hawks rebound -- again -- to gain split in Vancouver

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks were on the verge of winning a sixth straight playoff game for the first time in the club's 39-year NHL history.

The only Canadian team left skating in the Stanley Cup playoffs was set up to move within two wins of advancing past the second round of the playoffs for only the third time in its existence.

Up 2-0 early for the second game in a row, the Canucks blew another lead to the Chicago Blackhawks.

This time, they didn't get a break to bounce back to win it.

This time, they gave up five straight goals to lose Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal 6-3 here last night. And they head to Chicago today with the series tied 1-1 and Games 3 and 4 set for the United Center Tuesday and Thursday. The Blackhawks are undefeated this post-season on home ice.

This time, the Canucks staked only a two-goal lead instead of the three-goal margin they put up in Game 1.

This time, the Hawks came back with three goals in the second period instead of the third and added two more in the third to get the split in Vancouver.

"What happens when you get a lead?" goaltender Roberto Luongo was after the loss.

"We lose it.

"I have no answer for that."

Luongo gave up the same number of goals this night as he did in the entire first-round sweep of the St. Louis Blues, as the Hawks outshot the Canucks 31-21.

It was the first win in 11 years against the Canucks for Blackhawks netminder Nikoalai Khabibulin, who went into the game with a 0-10-1 mark during that span.

"Those guys are a good team on the other side, too," Luongo said.

"We didn't think we'd win this series in four straight," added Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "It's 1-1, and we're going to Chicago, where we'll play our hearts out.

"In the last 30 minutes, they out-played us and deserved to beat us. They've got a lot of skill on that team, and we gave them some space and time to use it."

Two powerplay goals in the first six minutes and 44 seconds allowed the Canucks to take a 2-0 lead to the locker-room after the first period.

Sami Salo scored the first goals but left the ice and did not return, with the Canucks declaring him out with a lower-body injury.

"It's day-to-day," said Vigneault, unable to say if Salo would join the team in Chicago or not.

In the second, the Hawks went to work. Patrick Sharp banged home a rebound then scored on a five-on-three to tie the game 2-2.

The visitors took the lead with a shorthanded goal by Dave Bolland at 16:50, making Luongo look like a beer-league goalie with a deke on a breakaway.

Ben Eager and Patrick Kane scored in the third for the Hawks.

Henrik Sedin scored on a five-on-three for the Canucks with three minutes left.

And Bolland scored into the empty net not long later.


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