Canucks 4, Blackhawks 1

Vancouver staves off Blackhawks

Associated Press / May 10, 2010

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CHICAGO — Kevin Bieksa scored two goals and Roberto Luongo made 29 saves as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, last night to stay alive in the Western Conference semifinals.

Chicago leads the series, 3-2, and now it heads back to Vancouver — where the Blackhawks captured Games 3 and 4 — for Game 6 tomorrow night.

Vancouver, which gave up four power-play goals in a 7-4 loss in Game 4 Friday, played a more disciplined game based on speed. And the Canucks got the kind of performance they needed from Olympic gold medalist Luongo following three straight losses to the Blackhawks.

“The two games in Vancouver, obviously our emotions in some situations got the best of us,’’ Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “We needed to be more disciplined and we were.’’

Said Bieksa, “We are a fairly disciplined team. For whatever reasons we were frustrated the last game and did things we don’t usually do. We found ourselves [last night]. Everyone out there had fun and played good hockey and that’s the result.’’

Christian Ehrhoff opened the scoring for the Canucks, just 59 seconds into the game, quieting the crowd at the United Center who had hoped to see the Blackhawks make the conference finals for a second straight season.

The series winner will face San Jose.

Chicago scored with just more than seven minutes left when Jonathan Toews tipped in a shot from between the circles by Duncan Keith. Alex Burrows added an empty-netter for the Canucks with 44.6 seconds left.

Ehrhoff’s long slapper from the right point just inside the blue line eluded a screened Antti Niemi to give Vancouver the early lead. Luongo then stopped a shot by Toews from close in at the left circle and also denied Patrick Sharp with Tomas Kopecky trying to screen the goalie.

Vancouver fought off a power play and Luongo was sharp, stopping a shot by Marian Hossa, his rebound attempt, and then another attempt as he was skating in from the side.

Bieksa was cutting to the crease and took a pretty pass from Kyle Wellwood, who was in the right circle, and got the puck under Niemi’s glove for a 2-0 lead at 14:24 of the opening period.

Bieksa’s second goal came on a power play in the second period, a one-timer from deep in the left circle that got by Niemi with Burrows screening.

Canucks defenseman Sami Salo was injured late in the first period after apparently being hit by a puck. He did not return.

Vancouver’s Shane O’Brien left briefly after he was cut by Dustin Byfuglien’s stick in the second period, but was able to return after taking stitches.

Luongo made another stellar save three minutes into the second, turning away Sharp from point-blank after he took a nice pass from Hossa.

“We got zapped right off the bat and didn’t respond after that,’’ Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had excitement in the building and we didn’t take advantage.’’

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