Blackhawks embarrass Canucks 5-0, stave off elimination again

Duncan Keith had two goals and two assists as the Chicago Blackhawks staved off elimination for the second time, routing the Vancouver Canucks 5–0 in Game 5 on Thursday night at Rogers Arena.

The onslaught began at 5:54 of the first period as Marian Hossa skated to the high slot, taking a feed from Keith and snapping it above Roberto Luongo’s glove for a power-play goal. It was his first of the series and first of two on the evening.

Just 24 seconds later, blue-liner Keith potted his first of the night, wiring a slapshot past a screened Luongo high blocker. Vancouver quickly called a timeout but it didn’t help.

Finishing off a three-goal first period, Patrick Kane also netted his first of the series, tipping a Keith shot from the point blocker side for Chicago’s second power-play goal of the period. Chicago went 2-for-5 with the man advantage for the evening, while Vancouver went 0-for-4.

Early into the second period, the Blackhawks erased any hopes Vancouver had of a comeback. Skating hard up the middle of the ice, Hossa received a stretch-pass from Patrick Sharp and rifled a wrister past Luongo high glove for his second goal, chasing Luongo from the game in favour of Cory Schneider.

After being pulled only twice during the regular season, Luongo has now been pulled twice in two games.  He allowed four goals on 12 shots and has now let in 10 goals on 40 shots over a two-game span.

Schneider didn’t fare much better. Keith potted his second goal of the game at 4:47 of the middle stanza, shooting the puck hard and low and through traffic into the back of the net. It was the first shot Schneider faced in the game.

Chicago’s rookie goaltender Corey Crawford made 36 saves for his first career playoff shutout. His best stop came early in the first period as he stymied Vancouver forward Alex Burrows’ tough shot off of a rebound while the game was still 0–0. Crawford also pitched in on the scoreboard as well, recording an assist on the first goal of the game.

Luongo isn’t the only player to be blamed for Vancouver’s recent woes. Henrik and Daniel Sedin have combined for just one point and are minus-9 in the past two games, compared to the previous three where they combined for nine points and a plus-7 rating. Interestingly enough, Chicago goaltender Crawford has more points than the Sedins over the past two games with two assists.

Chicago will look to make the series 3–3 as they head back home for Game 6 at the United Center on Sunday night. If Chicago wins the series, it will be only the fourth time in NHL history a team has come from a 3–0 deficit to win a series.

Notes:  Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook sat out a second straight game with a concussion. … Chicago forward Tomas Kopecky also sat out after sustaining an upper-body injury in Game 1. … Vancouver defenceman Keith Ballard and forward Victor Oreskevich did not dress. They were replaced by defenceman Aaron Rome and forward Cody Hodgson. … Vancouver forwards Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows have zero goals in five games this series.

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