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Blueliner Bieksa turns on red light twice

by Dan Rosen /
CHICAGO -- Kevin Bieksa scored only three goals during the regular season. He was one away from equaling that total Sunday night.

Bieksa was the Canucks' surprising offensive hero in Game 5 with two goals, including the winner, in their 4-1 victory over Chicago at United Center that allowed them to stave off elimination for at least another 48 hours.

He also logged more than 27 minutes of ice time to help a depleted blue line corps that lost veteran Sami Salo after the first period. Bieksa spoke with the media following the game. Here is a portion of what he had to say:

Q: How huge was the discipline you guys played with tonight?

Bieksa: Extremely huge, yeah. Last game we did some uncharacteristic things. We're not a team that self-destructs like that, but we got frustrated and caught in the moment. Tonight guys were taking punches to the face, sticks to the face, and Louie (Roberto Luongo) was still getting run all game, but he was sucking it up. That's what you do. That's why we're winners tonight.

Q: There weren't a lot of scrums in front of Luongo because there weren't a lot of rebounds. How much better is that for you as a defenseman?

Bieksa: It makes it easy, eh? Yeah. He did a great job tonight of controlling the rebounds. Give him a lot of credit for that. We were getting the early box out as best we could, and after they went to the net and gave him the early bump we tried not to react and make it a bigger thing.

Q: When Sami went down, how big was it to have that 2-0 lead already?

Bieksa: We obviously don't want to play the whole game with five defensemen so the later a guy goes down the better, but to have a lead and to be able to worry about our end as opposed to trying to jump up in the play, that's a huge deal.

Q: Key screens by Alex (Burrows) on both shots from the outside?

Bieksa: Yeah, we had net presence and you're not going to score goals on good goalies clean. Good job by him because I don't think the goalie saw either one.

Q: Chicago didn't have their stretch pass tonight. Did you do something to take that away from them?

Bieksa: I think we got on their D right away and that was the key because they were still looking for it, they still had their winger flying out of the zone. If we don't allow them to set up and we put a lot of pressure on them they can't really tee it up and put it high on the glass. If they put it on the wall we can sort of step up on the pucks, and we did a good job of that.

Q: When you saw Shane O'Brien take the stick to the forehead, were you thinking, “Oh no, now we're down to four D?”

Bieksa: Well, I was telling him when he came back to the bench, “I know Grapes is going to love the blood, but put your hand on it and cover it up,” because he was leaking pretty good. I had no doubt that he would come back. I knew he'd be back in a couple of minutes. That's the kind of guy he is.

Q: What is the challenge now if Sami is not going to be ready to play in the next game?

Bieksa: I don't think we assume that yet. We got a day off to regroup and get back at her. Whoever is in the lineup, we have had depth all year and we do the best with who we have.

Q: What is the difference Roberto makes in terms of team confidence when he plays like that?

Bieksa: Oh, he was a sponge tonight. He stopped everything he saw and controlled his rebounds really well. We're a great team when he plays like that.

Q: Does anything change for the next game?

Bieksa: It's the same mentality for us. We still control our own destiny. We win a game and we play on. That's how we approached this game.

Q: On your first goal, was it just a matter of speed to get in behind their D?

Bieksa: It was a good play by five guys, to tell you the truth. The breakout started with Andrew (Alberts) and he got it up to the winger. As soon as I saw we had complete control, and our winger made a great pass to Kyle (Wellwood), I'm able to jump up. If those two guys don't make a good play on the breakout I can't jump up, but as soon as I did it was a 2-on-1 and Kyle made a good pass.

Q: So you have to see the pass connect before making the risky play?

Bieksa: Yeah, we have to have control, and once we do I have to trust our forwards are going to make the play. I trusted our winger there and he made a great pass. Kyle made a great pass.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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