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Blackhawks must win or be swept by Canucks

by Dan Rosen

(Vancouver leads best-of-seven series, 3-0)


Big Story --
Vancouver can close out the defending champs with a win Tuesday at United Center. The Canucks have won the first three games of the series, including Games 2 and 3 by a single goal. They trailed for the first time in the series on Sunday, but were resilient and scored the eventual game-winning goal 6:54 into the third period. The Blackhawks talked Monday about playing for pride and how they're comforted knowing just last year Philadelphia came back from an 0-3 hole against Boston to win the series. It has happened only three times in the NHL.

Team Scope:

Canucks -- At ease would be the best way to describe the Canucks right now. Confident is another good word to use. They still don't feel that they've been at their best in the series, and yet they're up 3-0 because they're finding ways to win.

Daniel Sedin has come on after going without a point in Game 1. He has 3 goals and 2 assists over the last two games. Henrik Sedin has 4 assists since going without a point in Game 1. The Canucks have clearly not strayed from their initial goal of laying the body on the Blackhawks either. They've hit the Blackhawks at every opportunity and the physical play has resulted in Chicago wearing down late in games.

"It's tough to put the 'A' game on for 60 minutes," Henrik Sedin said. "(Sunday) night I think was our worst game of the series, but we're a tough team to beat because we're never really out of the game. We stick in there and never give up. We were in a great position (Sunday) night going into the third, tied on the road. We were happy with that."

Blackhawks -- Chicago captain Jonathan Toews believes the Blackhawks are not exposing the Canucks for what they really are.

"A beatable team," Toews said Monday.

By that he means they can be vulnerable if the Hawks push the offense on them, force their top players into making mistakes which could lead to rushes going the other way. Toews doesn't think his team has been doing nearly enough of that in the series and it's a large reason why they are on the verge of elimination.

"We haven't been able to prove that we can be a better team than them on one single night," Toews said. "We've got one more chance to do that. This is our last string of life here."

And the Blackhawks might be pulling out all the stops. It's possible Dave Bolland plays in Game 4 for the first time since suffering a concussion on March 9 against Tampa Bay. Bolland over the weekend didn't sound like a player who would be ready to play any time soon, but his symptoms are apparently subsiding and Hawks coach Joel Quenneville used the word "optimistic" to describe his chances of playing in Game 4.

"He's been waiting a long time to get back in the lineup," Quenneville said. "Based on the timing, he's ready to play and he wants to play."

Who's Hot -- For Vancouver, Daniel Sedin has 5 points and Henrik Sedin has 4 assists in the last two games. Christian Ehrhoff had a goal and an assist in Game 3, giving him 3 points in the series. … For Chicago, Patrick Kane has assists in each of the past two games and Toews had 2 assists in Game 3 after going pointless in Games 1-2.

Injury Report -- Blackhawks forward Tomas Kopecky is doubtful, but Bryan Bickell could play after missing Game 3. We'll know more about their availability Tuesday morning. Bolland could play for the first time since March 9. Despite getting rocked by Raffi Torres in Game 3, defenseman Brent Seabrook said he should be able to play in Game 4.

Stat Pack -- Chicago is 0-17 in series after dropping the first three games. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 0-3 deficit to win a series. … Vancouver is averaging 43.3 hits per game in this series after averaging just 21.6 per game in the regular season.

Puck Drop -- "Everyone has to do it. No one is an exception now," Toews said. "Everyone has to bring something out now. If you're a goal scorer, you have to score goals and hit and do everything. If you're a role player, you've got to hit and maybe find a way to score a goal or two as well. Everyone has to bring their best game and be a complete player, not leave anything out there. There's nothing to hold back now."

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