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It's down to one game for Hawks, Canucks

by Dan Rosen

(Best-of-seven series tied, 3-3)


Big Story -- The Blackhawks are looking to become the fourth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 hole to win a series. Philadelphia pulled it off last season, marking the first time it happened since the Islanders did it in 1975. Toronto also did it in 1942. The Canucks won the President's Trophy with 117 points in the regular season, but for the third straight year they can be extinguished by Chicago.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks -- Rookie forward Ben Smith scored the overtime winner in Game 6 to give the Hawks a 4-3 win. It was Smith's third goal of the series. He has played in as many Stanley Cup Playoff games (6) in his short career as NHL regular season games, but he's Chicago's newest sports sensation. Corey Crawford is as well. The rookie goalie made 32 saves, including 12 in overtime, to help send the series back to Vancouver for Game 7.

Dave Bolland has been a lightning rod since his return in Game 4 from a six-week absence due to a concussion. Bolland has centered the Blackhawks' most productive line and has 2 goals and 4 assists in three games.

"I'm pretty sure if I'm going to go there on a vacation, it wouldn't be nice," Bolland said of Vancouver. "They probably wouldn't let me in, once I got to the border. I do think most people do recognize me (in Vancouver). It's probably not the nicest things they say, but it's always fun going there and playing. The atmosphere and everything that goes on in Vancouver is great."

Bolland's wingers, Michael Frolik and Bryan Bickell, both scored in Game 6 and have combined for 4 goals since Game 4, but Bickell is not going to be available Tuesday.

The Blackhawks gave word Monday that Bickell underwent surgery to repair a lacerated tendon in his hand. He hurt himself in Game 2 and he tried to play through it, but he had to have the surgery now in order to make sure it was completed properly.

Canucks -- How did the NHL's best team in the regular season, one that seemed destined for an easy path to the second round after winning the first three games against Chicago, get to this point?

Well, their goaltending has not been good. Roberto Luongo, who will start Game 7, had to be pulled from both Games 4 and 5 and then was relegated to backup duty in Game 6. Cory Schneider was just OK in his first playoff start before leaving with an injury. Luongo made 12 saves in relief, but he gave up the winner to Smith.

The Canucks have not gotten nearly enough from their top players. Henrik and Daniel Sedin have combined for just 3 points and a minus-13 rating since Bolland made his series debut in Game 4. Ryan Kesler, who scored 41 goals in the regular season, doesn't have a single one in this series.

"It would be easy for us to get low right now, but I don't think this is the time to feel sorry for ourselves," Luongo said. "This is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work here for what's going to be an exciting Game 7 here on home ice."

Who's Hot -- Bolland had a goal and an assist in Game 6 to tie Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane for a team-high 6 points in the series. Only, Bolland has played three fewer games than Keith and Kane. Crawford has stopped 89 of 94 shots in the last three games.

Injury Report -- Bickell's loss is a blow to the Hawks most productive line. But, could Tomas Kopecky play for the first time since Game 1? He made the trip with the Hawks to Vancouver. There was no update on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo, who left Game 6 midway through the first period with an undisclosed injury. Schneider left Game 6 early in the third period, but Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he will backup Luongo.

Stat Pack -- Despite the playoff experience the Hawks have gained since making it in 2009, only three players expected to dress Tuesday have played in a Game 7 -- Marty Turco, Brian Campbell, Marian Hossa. Vancouver has 12 players that have Game 7 experience. ... Chicago has won twice in five games at Rogers Arena this season, but those wins are by a combined 12-1. ... Blackhawks defenseman John Scott played exactly 59 seconds in Game 6. It would be shocking if he dressed for Game 7.

Puck Drop -- "What we've got to try and do is stay in the moment," Vigneault said. "That's our focus for (Tuesday), to stay in the moment and the moment is one game. We have to play one game and if we play like we did (Sunday) night I like our chances. We have to play one game, stay in the moment, put our best effort on the ice and if we win everything will be forgotten."
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