Hawks rout Canucks 7-2, live to fight another day

Dave Bolland (BOLLAND)

Dave Bolland had a goal and three assists in his first game since Mar. 9 to help the Chicago Blackhawks avoid elimination and beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 at the United Center on Tuesday.

Trailing 3-0 in the series, the defending Stanley Cup champions came out with speed and aggression and faced little in response from Vancouver, who will have to wait one more game to attempt to beat Chicago in a playoff series for the first time since 1982.

Bolland, who was relied on to limit the Sedins in last year’s playoffs, impacted the game early and often as he was involved in four of Chicago’s first five goals in his return from a concussion that had him out for six weeks.

Brian Campbell and Duncan Keith’s second period goals came 17 seconds apart and seemed to send the Canucks into a tailspin from which they would not recover.

Patrick Sharp scored two power-play goals to help the Hawks break out of their 2-for-27 run against Vancouver’s penalty kill.

Michael Frolik added two assists but his only goal of the night was the most memorable.

He extended the Hawks’ lead to 5-1 with just over a minute left in the second period when he broke in alone, kicked the puck up to himself and deked out Roberto Luongo with a forehand-backhand move leaving him with a gaping Vancouver net.

VANCOUVER, CHICAGO BOXSCORE

The Canucks goalie, who some thought would not return after the second intermission, saw his evening come to an end 4:03 into the final frame as Sharp’s first goal sent him to the proverbial showers and the raucous Chicago crowd into a frenzy.

Tempers boiled over in the third period where several big hits were landed and scrums ensued and 90 penalty minutes were handed out between the two teams.

Sami Salo and Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks in the loss.

The Blackhawks got the early start they needed as Bryan Bickell got past Kevin Bieksa with an inside-out move and tucked the rubber in the narrow gap between Luongo’s outstretched right leg and the goalpost at 1:43 of the first period to put the home team up 1-0.

Bolland may have been a little too eager to get back in the action as he took an elbowing penalty in front of a linesman less than two minutes after Bickell’s goal.

Vancouver capitalized on the power play as Salo’s point shot deflected off two Chicago players to beat an obviously frustrated Corey Crawford at 4:46 to tie the game at 1-1 and suck the air out of the United Center. The silence was temporary.

Viktor Stalberg almost put Chicago back in front with 6:30 left in the first as he gathered a rebound right in front of the Vancouver net but his quick turn-and-shoot move was bested by Luongo’s right pad as he dropped into a splits position that would make most men cringe.

Campbell made it 2-1 for Chicago at 5:18 of the middle frame after finishing Patrick Kane’s saucer pass with a snapshot over Luongo’s shoulder. Kane had two assists on the night.

It was 17 seconds later when Keith cut into the middle of the face-off circles and buried his second of the playoffs to double the lead, 3-1.

Bolland made up for his earlier gaffe at 14:45 of the second period as he became the third Chicago player to beat Luongo from the slot to make it 4-1.

With the score 5-1, Sharp’s third period goals at 2:49 and 13:21 extended the margin to six before Sedin got his fourth of the playoffs to make it 7-2.

Game 5 is set for Thursday at 10:00PM EST at the Rogers Arena.

NOTES: Chicago was without Brent Seabrook due to an upper body injury that was suffered from a controversial hit to the head by Raffi Torres. The Vancouver forward had just returned from a four-game suspension when he blindsided Seabrook behind the Blackhawks’ net in Game 3 although the matter did not warrant supplementary discipline according to the NHL, a decision which sparked much controversy in the hockey world. … Jonathan Toews and Kane have both been held scoreless for Chicago this series, as have Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Mason Raymond for Vancouver. … Ryan Johnson returned from being a healthy scratch for Chicago.