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Chicago wins a drama-filled Game 6 in overtime to force a Game 7 against Vancouver

Apr 24, 2011, 11:27 PM EDT

Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Six Getty Images

In a game that started off oozing with drama as Canucks coach Alain Vigneault would start Cory Schneider in goal over regular starter Roberto Luongo, it would only end up making sense that it would somehow still boil down to Luongo. While the Canucks may have wanted to have Luongo avoid dealing with the insane atmosphere in Chicago and go with the guy that’s not mentally rattled, it would be Luongo who gave up the game-winner in overtime as the Blackhawks won it 4-3 to force a Game 7 on Tuesday.

Schneider played well in goal despite a pair of his own miscues that led to goals from Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland, but in the third period with Vancouver holding a 3-2 lead, Michal Frolik would be taken down on a breakaway giving him a penalty shot and a chance to tie it. Frolik would attack and score on Schneider as Schneider kicked his leg out to try and make the stop and in the process injured himself. In came Luongo and the Canucks stepped up their pressure as Luongo only had to face one shot in the third period while the Canucks peppered the Chicago net trying to end the game. They wouldn’t have it though and the game moved to overtime.

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In overtime, the Blackhawks were able to blitz the Vancouver zone and with 4:30 left in the overtime period, rookie Ben Smith would put home a rebound off a sprawling Luongo and into the net to send the United Center crowd into a frenzy as the Hawks stormed back from being down 3-0 in the series to force a Game 7.

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For Chicago, they’re playing flat out better than Vancouver right now and the Canucks look rattled. Badly. Chicago is getting sustained pressure from all of their lines and with Dave Bolland back in the lineup and producing in a big way, they’ve been able to roll over all of the Canucks lines. Even with Jonathan Toews struggling points-wise, the Blackhawks aren’t missing a beat and they’re playing motivated and often spiteful hockey. We’ve said it before that they’re dangerous and now the Canucks look scared.

Vancouver looks terrified to do anything. The physicality isn’t equaling up to what Chicago is doing, the passing is off, the skill is gone as Chicago is forcing Vancouver to be uncomfortable, and most of all Vancouver is playing as if they don’t want to lose. Someone in that Canucks locker room has to hold the other players accountable and whether it’s captain Henrik Sedin or assistants like Ryan Kesler, the fear of whatever higher being they believe in must be put into them. The Canucks have to play desperate and angry. After all, if you kept getting made to look like a fool by the same “bully” year in and year out, some day you snap out of it and lash out and get back at them.

Right now Vancouver is playing the part of the kid on the playground that’s content with getting wedgies every day and having their lunch money stolen. The scared attitude, the lack of support for one another, the lack of sensible fire they have to want to win is startling. If the Canucks don’t want to become the ultimate joke in playoff history, they’ll take each of the last three losses personally and play like they mean it regardless of who is in goal and play the way the top seeded team in the playoffs should play.

Otherwise, Chicago rolls on and seals a date in the second round and becomes one of the most terrifying teams to play in the Western Conference playoffs. With Detroit and Nashville already booked for dates in the second round, that’s the scariest part of all this. After all, no one wants a piece of an angry and motivated team that knows how to get things done. Perhaps that’s why Chicago has absolutely no fear going against Vancouver.

Here are all the highlights from tonight’s Game 6.

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  1. islandersfan - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Wow, grats to Chicago for not throwing in the towel – it’s not done yet though. This is going to be an awesome game 7

  2. nelson8403 - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    I don’t know if Vancouver has anything left, they came in very strong, very physical in this series, and are basically standing here now going into a game 7 with no momentum. They will have to play with Lou next game and it looks like he is extremely rattled, and possibly injured.. he gave up really bad rebounds with almost every save.. and if it wasn’t for the defense this game could have been over in the third. This will be a great game 7.

  3. thejokewriter - Apr 25, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    I told you guys…if the Hawks win game 5, which they obviously did, they would win 6 and I have no doubt they will win game 7. I believe the Hawks tonight had their own Henri Richard moment with that Ben Smith winner. 1971 Canadien’s…still killing me!

    • thebigwhitecat - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:09 AM

      Only a diehard Blackhawks would know what you’re referencing. And I do.

      I think Bobby Hull hit the post a few minutes prior to Richard’s goal.

      Go Hawks!

  4. polegojim - Apr 25, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Sedins combined DOUBLE DIGIT MINUS…something like -10+…. in last three games.

    Luongo rattled and the entire Vancouver team who thought they’d sweep easy, are about to feel a reverse sweep.

    Do the Canucks have as much character as this Blackhawk team that was down big?

    I’m thinking not. Congrats Hawks, guts and grit are getting it done.

  5. tommytd - Apr 25, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    This, my friends, is why they play the games. The Canuckleheads had weeks and weeks to read and hear about how great they were! If you want to be champions, at some point you’re gonna have to beat the champions and they’re not getting it done!

  6. zestypickles - Apr 25, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    As a wings fan, I love the way this series is playing out. Either Vancouver gets tired and their playoff run suffers, or an inferior team (obviously they’re motivated, but undeniably inferior) in Chicago gets trampled. Couldn’t be better. Now I just need to hope LA beats SJ, and Chicago somehow finishes Vancouver so my wings can run on Chicago.

    In other news, SJ scares me the most.

    • hawks49 - Apr 25, 2011 at 6:19 PM

      I can’t wait to knock out the Red Wings, it was the only piece missing from last year’s Stanley Cup run.

      I just hope the Sharks lose so we get you in the next round. Don’t fool yourself into thinking an easy first round opponent and a week off is going to help you.

      • zestypickles - Apr 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM

        Well, rent-a-cup doesn’t work every year, unfortunately for the hawks. You gotta get by Vancouver first, which will be a tough game 7. And how could it not help to rest one of the top two-way forwards in the world for a week? not to mention Franzen. People seem to forget that the wings ran train on the “yotes” without their leading scorer from the year, Which should scare anyone.

  7. ynotflyers - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    The Hawks are playin the same game as the Flyers…Put our backs to the wall !! Vancouver seems to have spent to much time reading how good they Where…..In the NHL Playoffs anything you did all season makes no matter AT ALL…How few goals you gave up or how many you scored SO WHAT…The Wings have a great shot at the West no doubt there because they play every game as if it’s the only one that matters….I will say the series has been fun to watch, but I’m not a fan of either so I feel no heartbreak. As for the Wings Fan, I don’t blame you SJ could be a problem….but I think your gonna pull it out in 6. Hope to see you in the finals…And the rest will be History Being Made as they say….Ynotflyers

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