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Hawks stay alive by routing Canucks 5-0

by Dan Rosen
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Patrick Kane snickered at the idea that the Blackhawks couldn't score seven goals on the Canucks again.

"We put up seven on them in this building before this year, so it can happen," Kane said prior to Game 5 at Rogers Arena.

It almost did.

The Blackhawks jumped all over the Canucks on Thursday night with three goals in the first period and two more in the second before coasting to a 5-0 victory that kept up the belief that miracles can happen two years in a row.

Chicago trailed 3-0 in this series but has forced a Game 6 back at United Center on Sunday with back-to-back blowout victories, including Tuesday's 7-2 shellacking of Vancouver. The Blackhawks are admittedly using inspiration gained from Philadelphia's comeback from a 3-0 hole against Boston last season.

The Flyers rallied to win the series, becoming only the third NHL team to do so and the first in 35 years.

"We put ourselves in such a hole, but we'll take what Philly did last year and we'll give it a shot, see where it takes us," Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell said.

Marian Hossa scored his first two goals of the series Thursday and Duncan Keith had a 4-point night with 2 goals and 2 assists. Kane chipped in a goal and Corey Crawford made 36 saves for his first career playoff shutout.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called Crawford's night "special" and said Keith "had his best game all year."

"You play a long season last year -- and I played 115-odd games, and a lot of ice time in those games," Keith said, referring to his Stanley Cup- and gold-medal winning 2009-10 season. "Then you come back two months later and you're playing exhibition games and it's not the same feeling. I'm excited to play in these types of games in this type of atmosphere. It's a good feeling."

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo gave the 18,860 inside Rogers Arena and however many Canucks fans elsewhere a bad feeling Thursday when he had to be taken out prematurely for the second straight game. Luongo gave up four goals on 12 shots in less than 22 minutes, and has yielded 10 goals on 40 shots over his last 65-plus minutes.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault did not hesitate to answer in the affirmative when he was asked if Luongo would start Game 6.

"I've been at the top of my game for the last five months. I feel good in what I've been doing," Luongo said. "You don't lose something like that in a game or two. To me, nothing changes. I'm going to be focused."

Luongo wasn't the only Canuck with another questionable performance. Since Dave Bolland returned to the Blackhawks' lineup in Game 4, Daniel and Henrik Sedin have combined for just 1 point and a minus-9 rating. They had 9 points and a plus-7 rating in the first three games of the series.

"Everybody can do more," Vigneault said. "I can do better and each and every one of our players can do better. That's what we're going to work on starting (Friday)."

Chicago's onslaught began with Hossa's power-play goal 5:54 into the first period. He had a lone assist in the series heading into Game 5, but he knifed through the middle and rifled a low shot past Luongo's glove side from between the circles to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead and get himself off the schneid.

"Our gap wasn't good and we gave Hossa .. .he's teeing it up from the ladies' tee right there," Vigneault said. "He had a pretty good opportunity and he scored."

Twenty-four seconds later it was 2-0. The rout was on.

Keith scored for the third straight game on a one-timer from the point that slipped through traffic in front of Luongo and into the net. It was the first of three goals the Blackhawks scored thanks to getting traffic in front of the Vancouver net.

"There were some plays there where the forwards made some nice plays and I had time to get my head up and I felt comfortable shooting," Keith said. "We had good traffic in front, too. That's part of it. We talked about that from the beginning of the series, getting traffic in front of him. When there is traffic sometimes you don't need that second effort."

Keith was initially credited with the third goal because it was ruled that his shot from the top of the zone went through everybody and past Luongo at 12:17. However, between periods it was changed to Kane, who tipped the puck ahead of Jonathan Toews to redirect it past Luongo for Chicago's second power-play goal in three chances.

It was Kane's first playoff goal since his overtime Cup-winner in Game 6 in Philadelphia last June.

Keith got his second of the night 4:47 into the second period with a similar low shot through traffic, this time beating Luongo's replacement, Cory Schneider. Kane said he felt guilty taking what would have been the second goal in a hat trick away from Keith.

"I know, and I kind of felt bad about that," Kane said laughing. "(Keith) played great for us. He was awesome. We expect that from him now, to show up in big games like that."

Luongo flashed some leather late in the first period to stuff Patrick Sharp on a breakaway and keep the deficit at three goals heading into the first intermission, but just 1:26 into the second period he couldn't stop Hossa on a breakaway and it became 4-0.

That was the end of Luongo's night. The fans at Rogers Arena cheered when Schneider hopped over the boards. It was one of the few times they cheered all night.

Hossa was asked if he thinks the Blackhawks are now in Luongo's head?

"I don't see in his head, so I don't know," Hossa said to a chorus of laughter. "But, hopefully."

It wouldn't be the first time that storyline got some traction. The Blackhawks have scored at least five goals in seven of 17 playoff games against Luongo and the Canucks in the past three postseasons.

Then again, this also isn't the first time the Blackhawks have maybe gotten into all of the Canucks' heads. Chicago is the team that Vancouver can't seem to slay, and the Canucks have given no indication in the past two games that they will ever be able to do it.

"Obviously there are probably going to be a lot of questions on our group, but coming from the head coach and the other coaches, we've got tremendous faith in these players and tremendous belief in what they can do," Vigneault said. "It's up to us to go out there and not say it, but do it."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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