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Hawks come back but suffer crushing loss
ByTim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler, left, goes into the boards with Chicago Blackhawks' Matt Walker during Game 1 of the western conference semifinal at GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday.


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Published: 4/30/2009 11:05 PM | Updated: 4/30/2009 11:56 PM

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The Blackhawks proved again Thursday night they never can be counted out.

But after rallying from a 3-0 deficit by scoring 3 goals in the third period, they may have gotten a little too greedy trying for the win and wound up with a crushing 5-3 loss to the Canucks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at GM Place.

With four Hawks, including defenseman Cam Barker, caught below the top of the circles in the attack zone, the Canucks went the other way for a 4-on-1 following a turnover and got the winning goal from Sami Salo on a rebound with 1:13 to play.

Vancouver's Ryan Johnson added an empty-netter in the final seconds.

The Hawks dominated the third period and felt they could get the next goal when the breakdown occurred in the final two minutes that saw only Matt Walker back.

"I'm not quite sure what happened," Barker said. "I joined the rush and was trying to get to the net there, and the next thing I know it's a 4-on-1 and I couldn't get back in time."

Trailing 3-0 going to the third period, the Hawks fought back to tie the game on 2 goals by Patrick Kane and 1 from Dave Bolland.

Bolland's goal came with 5:29 left and appeared to set up overtime.

"It's tough to lose," Kane said. "We had a great third period and one mistake and it ends up in the back of the net."

The Hawks had the Canucks back on their heels for all but the final minute-plus in the third period.

"They're a great transition team and you saw it in the third period," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "They made it very difficult on us on the third period, but at the end of the day we found a way to win."

Salo banged a Steve Bernier rebound into the back of the net after Khabibulin made a good first stop.

"I stopped in front of the net and the puck came right to me," Salo said.

Appearing sluggish and in penalty trouble much of the first two periods, the Hawks fell behind by 3 goals.

The Hawks got a power play two minutes into the game when Rick Rypien drilled Adam Burish into the boards from behind, but they couldn't capitalize.

Referees Eric Furlatt and Bill McCreary didn't think Rypien deserved a major penalty, which was only the beginning of their uneven night.

The Hawks got the next three penalties the rest of the first period, including a double minor to Andrew Ladd for high sticking Kyle Wellwood.

The Hawks killed the four minutes and didn't allow a shot, but they couldn't do the same when Duncan Keith received an iffy tripping penalty from Furlatt.

Vancouver turned Keith's penalty into Pavol Demitra's power-play goal at 15:22. Demitra scored off a pass from Mats Sundin on the same back-door play the Canucks try over and over.

"We have to be more disciplined," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Henrik Sedin made it 2-0 at 5:13 of the second period when he cruised down the slot after Brent Seabrook was picked by a Canucks player with no penalty called.

Tim Sassone's game tracker

Three stars: 1. Sami Salo. Canucks defenseman scored the game-winning goal on a rebound with 1:13 to play. 2. Patrick Kane. Hawks winger ignited the third period comeback with 2 goals. 3. Kyle Wellwood. Vancouver center had 2 assists and was bloodied twice by high sticks from Andrew Ladd and Kane.

Key stat: Hawks captain Jonathan Toews played only 13 minutes, was minus-2 and lost 8 of 11 faceoffs. Is he hurting or sick?

Big hit: Vancouver's Rick Rypien hit Adam Burish from behind into the boards early in the first period, yet didn't receive a major penalty from referees Bill McCreary and Eric Purlatt.

Looking ahead: The Hawks need to start going to the net and crowding Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo earlier than the third period in Game 2 on Saturday.