No reason for Canucks to panic ... yet

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:12 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Relax, Vancouver fans, there's no reason to panic.

Yet.

But if the Chicago Blackhawks aren't dead and buried after Game 5, feel free to start freaking out.

Thursday night at the Rogers Arena is as close to a Game 7 -- without actually being Game 7 -- as it gets, because if Vancouver can't win this one, they ain't winnin' Game 6 in Chicago.

And if they have to fly home for a Game 7, having lost three in a row, well, we've all seen that movie before.

"We'll make it as tough as we can on them," said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who's been saying from the start that the Canucks can be had. "The pressure is on them to try and finish us off. We know they don't want to go to a Game 6. We don't want to make it easy on them."

The Blackhawks certainly didn't Tuesday when they staved off elimination for, perhaps, the first time.

The question, though, is whether the series shifted on its axis with Chicago's 7-2 victory in Game 4, or if that was just Vancouver taking advantage of the breathing room they earned in the first three games.

"I don't know what they're thinking," said Chicago blueliner Brian Campbell. "They're still in control of the series right now. We're just trying to chip away and upset them. But we want this bad."

In attempting to channel the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, the Hawks are hoping Vancouver channels the 2009 and 2010 Canucks -- the teams that looked for a soft spot on the canvas when the other guys started hitting back.

The President's Trophy winners swear they are a tougher, more resilient group than the teams that couldn't get it done in the past. We'll find out soon enough.

"Our focus all season has been on us," said Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis. "We have a really good team in here and we focus on doing our things well. Whether they make adjustments or not, we feel if were playing the best we can we will win."

Funny, Chicago's starting to feel that way, too.

"In the first two games we were right there, on the verge of stealing either game," said Patrick Kane. "We still feel we can compete with these guys and that's important at this point in time."

One win is nice, but coming back from 3-0 is still a once-in-a-generation miracle. The Hawks know that.

"For us, experience doesn't matter," said Troy Brouwer, asked if Chicago's playoff past can see them through this. "Because no one's been in this situation before. It all draws on want and desire."

The last time the Canucks were beaten this badly -- Chicago laid a 7-1 whupping on them Nov. 20 at Rogers Arena -- it spawned team meetings and soul searching from a club that went 44-13-6 the rest of the way.

Maybe the kick in the pants is just what they needed.

"We've been good all year about not getting ahead of ourselves and staying focused," said Henrik Sedin. "The way their team is built, around the skill they have, they've been there before, you can never really count them out. They have a tremendous team over there, a lot of guys who are winners. We have a ton of respect for these guys."

The odds are still heavily in Vancouver's favour, but given their playoff history they know better than to take anything for granted, even with a 3-1 series lead.

"This franchise hasn't done much in the last 40 years," said Henrik. "So I think we're pretty down to earth."


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