Turnover burns Canucks

Terry Jones, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

CHICAGO – Boring can be exciting.

If it gets you within two minutes and 44 seconds of where the Vancouver Canucks have only been twice before in their 39 year history – to the final four of the Stanley Cup playoffs – it can be good fun until the bubble bursts.

It wasn't much fun for the Chicago Blackhawks until Martin Havlat sent Game 4 of the Western Conference semi-final to overtime where Maple Ridge B.C. product Andrew Ladd won it 2-1 two minutes and 52 seconds in.

Chicago had no history of ever coming back from down three games to one to win a series which reverts to Vancouver Saturday night and will be back here for a Game 6 Monday.

“I think boring is exciting,” said Canucks' Alex Burrows of in a pre-game prediction at a media availability at the team hotel for the club which decided not to have a pre-game skate yesterday.

“I think it's like a pitcher in baseball. If he keeps throwing the fastball, people will like it. But once he throws that curveball, the hitter can't hit it. I like it. That's what we're going to try to do tonight. Play a high percentage game.

"Even if it's boring, I don't really care. I like the curve ball. I like the change-up. I like when the hitter is not able to hit the ball. That's what we'll try to do tonight.”

When it was over, he had second thoughts.

“Maybe we sat back a bit too much. We had a one goal lead and we tried to protect it.”

Coach Alain Vigneault said much of it may not have been easy on the eyes but it was text book.

“Today was one of the best chess matches I've seen in hockey in a long time,” he said.

“We just needed to do a little bit more generating chances at their end,” he said of his team which only managed 15 shot on goal in the entire game.

“We were a couple minutes from winning this game. We've got to deal with it and move on to the next game.”

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said it may not be firewagon hockey they're playing, but it is interesting.

“It wasn't pretty but it was pretty competitive out there. I'd just like to find out what we're like playing with the lead.”

For the second game in a row being boring was the game plan for the Canucks who suffocated the Blackhawks high power offence and put the crowd of 22,682, not to mention the entire TV viewing public, to sleep in the process.

It staked Vancouver to a 1-0 lead which almost held up.

The Blackhawks, a team which had managed to get down 3-0, 2-0 and 3-0 in the first three games, not only escaped the first period tied 0-0, they out-played the patient Canucks for the most part.

While the highlight of the period was ex-Toronto Maple Leaf Mats Sundin having by far his best shift of the playoffs, deking Brian Campbell in front of the net to create a chance, it was otherwise all Chicago until eight minutes into the second period.

Rick Rypien, the Coleman, Alberta product who missed a significant part of the series for “non-hockey reasons” found himself on a breakaway but out of gas when he spun and fed a breaking Darcy Hordichuk for his first ever Stanley Cup playoff goal to give the Canucks the lead the first goal for the fourth game in the series.

Roberto Luongo made several big saves in the first two periods including a five star leg save on Patrick Sharp at the midway point of the period, watched the Canucks screw the lid on the game until the Hawks finally broke the seal with 2:44 remaining in the third.

A turnover in the Vancouver zone by Willie Mitchell resulted with the puck on Havlat's stick as he turned and wheeled in front of the net to beat Luongo one-on-one with a wrist shot.

“I fanned on it,” said Luongo.

In overtime, after the Canucks had a couple chance early, the play went the other way and Dave Bolland fired it from off the boards at the net where Ladd tipped it home.

“We played well but you're playing with fire if you're trying to hold on to a one-goal lead,” said the goaltender/captain.


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