Sharp touch

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:42 PM ET

TERRY JONES

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

The only Canadian team left in the playoffs was, set up to move within two wins of advancing past the second round of the playoffs for only the third time in their entire 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 bounce back to win it.

This time they gave up five straight goals to lose Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal 6-3 last night and head to Chicago today with the series tied 1-1 for Games 3 and 4 set at the United Center where the the Blackhawks are undefeated this post season.

This time the Hawks came back with three goals in the second period instead of the third (like Game 1), and added two more in the third to get the split.

"What happens when you get a lead?" goaltender Roberto Luongo was asked in the otherwise empty Canucks dressing room.

"We lose it," he said. "I have no answer for that."

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

It was the first win in 11 years against the Canucks for Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin who went into the game with a 0-10-1 record in that time against Vancouver.

"Those guys are a good team on the other side too," said the Canucks goaltender/captain.

"We didn't think we'd win this series in four straight," said 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 power play goals in the first six minutes and 44 seconds allowed the Canucks to take a 2-0 lead to the dressing room after the first. The Canucks.

Luongo made the save of the series so far midway in the second period when he dove across the crease, robbing Ben Eager with a stick save off a rebound, only to see Patrick Sharp bang home a rebound the next trip down the ice.

Chicago scored on a five-on-three, Sharp's second of the game at the 12 minute mark to tie the game 2-2.

The Hawks 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.

Eager and Patrick Kane scored the third-period goals. Henrik Sedin scored on a 5-on-3 for the Canucks with three minutes remaining. Bolland scored into the empty net not long later.

"It was very similar to the first game," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. "We took too many penalties and got behind. We've still got to learn to keep out of the box."

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


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