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Canucks v Blackhawks - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Vigneault's personality, coaching style a perfect fit

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Alain Vigneault has barely shown a pulse in this series against Chicago, let alone some emotion. Vancouver's bench boss has been extraordinarily reserved in his comments and consistent in his message that this is all part of a process and the Canucks are staying true to it.

The fact that they're up 3-0 and can close out the defending Stanley Cup champions in Game 4 Tuesday is only a minor story in the big picture.

"As a group everybody is trying to learn and put it all together," Vigneault said on Monday.

Oh sure, Vigneault has his moments of candor and comedy, such as when he starts conducting impromptu French lessons toward the end of his press conferences, chiding an English-speaking reporter who is trying to ask a question in French.

Hawks less than happy with League's ruling

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Brent Seabrook didn't need a replay. The Blackhawks defenseman on Monday said in an impromptu press conference that Vancouver forward Raffi Torres connected with his head first on a hit behind the net midway through the second period in Game 3 Sunday.
Torres received a two-minute minor for interference on the play that occurred 12:14 into the second period and the Blackhawks scored a power-play goal. The NHL announced Monday that Torres will not receive any further supplementary discipline, meaning he is expected to be in Vancouver's lineup Tuesday as it tries to close out the series in Game 4 (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC).
"I think he kept his elbow in, but he hit the head first," Seabrook said. "As far as I'm concerned that's the first thing I felt, it's the only thing I felt. The rest of my body is feeling the rest of it today, but (Sunday) night all I could really feel was my ear. The way it looks to me, the head was hit first. Whether he was targeting or not, he made contact with the head first."
Seabrook and his teammates were hoping Torres would receive a suspension. They believe that his history -- Torres on Sunday was playing his first game since serving a four-game suspension for elbowing Edmonton's Jordan Eberle in the head on April 5 -- and the head-first hit delivered on Seabrook warranted further punishment.

Pride on the line as Hawks hope to avoid a sweep

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

"There's a huge pride factor. I mean, we have a history with this team, and coming into this series we felt we had just as good of a chance to win as they did. We didn't plan on being in this situation. There's a huge pride factor. We just want to stay alive in this series." -- Jonathan Toews

CHICAGO -- They've talked about desperation and needed to play with it for most of the last two months just to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now, down 3-0 in a Western Conference quarterfinal series to a bitter rival, it's something different motivating the Chicago Blackhawks for Tuesday's Game 4 against the Vancouver Canucks.

Now, it's about pride.

It doesn't matter that Vancouver won the President's Trophy and came into the postseason as the West's top team, while the Hawks needed help on the final day of the regular season to qualify. It doesn't matter that the past two games were each decided by one goal or that neither of the Sedins scored in the series opener -- a 2-0 Canucks win.

Blackhawks think they'll have Bolland back

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are "optimistic" about the return of two-way center Dave Bolland for Game 4 on Tuesday of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Bolland, who scored 15 goals and 37 points in 61 games, has been out since early March with side effects of a severe concussion incurred in a game on March 9 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Bolly's a competitive guy," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Monday. "He's been waiting a long time to get back in the lineup. Based on the timing, he's ready to play and he wants to play."

Penalty kill comes up big for Canucks

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – They were only 77 seconds of a 60-minute game.

In retrospect, they might've been the most important seconds played during a game on Sunday night that put the Vancouver Canucks just one win away from ousting the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks from the playoffs.

Despite allowing a pair of power-play goals, it was a big penalty kill by Vancouver midway through the first period that helped the Canucks take a commanding 3-0 lead in this Western Conference Quarterfinal with a tight 3-2 win in front of 21,743 at the United Center.

Blackhawks upset following hit on Seabrook

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was a little woozy following a big hit by Vancouver Canucks forward Raffi Torres on Sunday night, but was able to finish Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal on Sunday night at the United Center.

The defending Stanley Cup champions were also wobbled after dropping the game 3-2 and falling down 3-0 in the series, but the hit by Torres was a big talking point in both locker rooms after the game.

Seabrook was behind the Chicago goal looking behind him to play the puck when Torres barreled into the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Hawks defenseman at full speed – sending him sprawling to the ice. Seabrook, who hadn't seen a video replay, said Torres' shoulder hit him in the head.

Toews, Hawks one loss away from long summer

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Toews sat on the bench in front of his dressing room stall late Sunday, slowly unraveling the clear tape wrapped around his socks that was holding up his shin pads. The look on his face was one of despair, of disgust. He put his elbows on his knees and dropped his face into his hands.

It was a sight so very different from what we've come to expect from Toews, who won everything last year, from Olympic gold to the Conn Smythe and, of course, the Stanley Cup.

Now he and his teammates are on the verge of being eliminated without a single victory in the 2011 playoffs.

Hawks replace Johnson with Dowell

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- The Blackhawks made one more lineup change prior to Game 3 against Vancouver Sunday night at United Center as center Jake Dowell replaced Ryan Johnson. Dowell will start the game centering the fourth line between Fernando Pisani and the other new addition, John Scott.

Dowell played in 9:24 in Game 1, registering a hit and one shot on goal. Pisani replaced him in the lineup for Game 2.

Johnson played in each of the first two games against the Canucks, averaging 8:53 of ice time with zero shots on goal and one hit. He won six of 10 faceoffs. Johnson played in 33 regular season games after signing with the club on Dec. 17. He had 1 goal and 5 assists and won 63.1 percent of his faceoffs (197-of-312).

Canucks won't change their approach

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Vancouver Canucks aren't resorting to clichés about being sharks smelling blood in the water or not letting the rival Chicago Blackhawks off the mat.

In fact, despite leading this Western Conference Quarterfinal series 2-0 heading into Sunday night's Game 3 at the United Center, the Canucks are going out of their way to choose their words carefully regarding the series lead.

If Vancouver can win Game 3, it will put the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in a precarious position that is rarely overcome -- down by three games.

"Yeah, but we're not really looking at it that way too much," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said after Vancouver's morning skate on Sunday. "We've said before we have a lot of respect for these guys. They've been down to us before and they've come back, so we don't take anything for granted. We're up two games, but we're going to approach this like it's 0-0 in the series."

Canucks to get Torres, Samuelsson in lineup

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Two forwards with Stanley Cup Final experience will likely return to the Vancouver Canucks lineup for Game 3 Sunday at United Center.

Raffi Torres is back after serving a four-game suspension dating back to the regular season for elbowing Edmonton's Jordan Eberle in the head from the blind side, and Mikael Samuelsson is healthy after skipping Game 2 with an illness.

Rookie Cody Hodgson and Aaron Rome will be Vancouver's healthy scratches.

"I feel good," said Samuelsson, who won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008. "I feel good now. I'm ready to go tonight."
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