VANCOUVER – After falling down in the series 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks, the Chicago Blackhawks put together three solid performances and outscored the Presidents' Trophy winners 16-5. But in the end, Chicago fell just a goal short of accomplishing what just three teams previously had done.
The Blackhawks attempted to become just the fourth team in Stanley Cup Playoff history to win four straight, but instead became just the fourth team to rally back and fall in Game 7.
The defending Stanley Cup champions join the 1939 New York Rangers, 1945 Detroit Red Wings and 1975 New York Islanders as the only other teams to fall short of winning four straight after losing the first three in a series.
"We always kept believing and it showed right till the end," said defenseman Duncan Keith, who won Olympic gold in addition to a Stanley Cup last season. "To get it to overtime was just a gritty play by (Jonathan Toews) on the penalty kill and it's a great effort to get it to overtime. But in the end, it was in the back of (our) net."
Chicago, who snuck into the playoffs thanks to a Dallas Stars loss in the last game of the regular season, put together 7-2, 5-0 and 4-3 wins after getting behind in the series, only to drop a 2-1 decision in overtime at Rogers Arena in Game 7.
"Being out in the first round is tough to take," Keith said. "I'm just proud of the way we fought back and made it a series, but at the same time its still tough to take. Knowing that if we were better in the regular season, we could've enhanced our chances here."
After getting down 1-0 on a Alexandre Burrows goal at 2:43 in the first period, the Blackhawks managed to fend off the Canucks thanks in large part to the stellar goaltending performance from rookie Corey Crawford.
With just 1:56 remaining in the third Toews tied things up at 1 on a desperation play, shorthanded, picking up just his first goal of the postseason.
Patrick Sharp had an excellent chance in the first overtime to end things on a cross-ice feed, which was stopped by Roberto Luongo.
Then at 5:22 of the extra session, Chris Campoli turned over the puck just inside the Blackhawks' blue line and Burrows managed to get a rolling puck past Crawford.
"It was just kind of a bouncing puck and (Burrows) grabbed it at full speed and came into the slot – teed one up," said Crawford, who made 36 saves in the loss. "I don't think he got his best shot off, it was kind of a change up or hit our guy's stick. It was kind of a weird one."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said his team simply came up a goal short.
"From the start of the year it was a battle and to get to Game 7 and get to overtime," said Quenneville. "The way we did it reminded me of when we tied it up shorthanded against Nashville (in the 2010 playoffs) – we were fortunate then, but not tonight."