Quantcast 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Western Conference Round One: Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks
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The Return of the Rat

The Vancouver Canucks thought they smelled a rat. But they were all out of mouse traps Tuesday night at the United Center as the Hawks stayed alive with a 7-2 win, supercharged by Dave Bolland's return.

Bolland, who hasn't played since March 9th when he took an elbow to the head by Tampa Bay's Pavel Kubina, was absolutely magnificent, posting his 1st career 4 point game as the Hawks exploded for 4 goals in the second period to put away the Canucks and force a Game 5 back in Vancouver Thursday night.

Bolland had a goal and 3 assists and didn't waste time getting started, assisting on an incredible effort by Bryan Bickell, who undressed defenseman Kevin Bieksa and wrapped around Luongo's outstretched leg for his 1st career playoff goal just 1:43 into the game. After a bizarre goal by Sami Salo 3 minutes later, which careened off of 2 Hawks players to tie it up, the score remained tied until 5 minutes into the second period.

The Hawks scored 2 goals 17 seconds apart. both by defensemen. Patrick Kane found Brian Campbell trailing in the slot and he ripped it home and as the last bit of Chelsea Dagger was still echoing through the rafters of the United Center, it was cued again as Frolik found Duncan Keith in the high slot for a 3-1 lead.

10 minutes later Bolland picked up a loose puck just inside the vancouver zone and slipped into the slot to score on his wrist shot and 4 minutes later he hustled and chipped a puck up to Michael Frolik all alone who faked Robert Luongo with the backhand and scored.

With Bolland leading the third line with Bickell and Frolik (a line that was +4 and accounted for 3 goals and 8 points) they helped open up the scoring for the Hawks top lines. Patrick Sharp tallied 2 power play goals in the 3rd period and Kane posted 2 assists. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa also added helpers as well.

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Even more important was Bolland leading the checking line against the Sedin line of the Canucks, who were held to only 4 shots on goal and weren't given a legitimate scoring chance until halfway through the 3rd period. Only Daniel Sedin made the score sheet, tapping in a goal from the left side of the net with under 4 minutes left in the game.

Bolland's presence obviously stirred up memories from past series as he helped shut down the Sedins and got under more than just their skin. Bolland's work ethic and energy spread like wildfire onto the Hawks and helped draw 61 minutes of penalties from Vancouver. The Canucks had only committed 26 through the first 3 games.

The frustration boiled over early in the third period when Jannik Hansen boarded Chris Campoli on an icing call. A scrum ensued and Tanner Glass and Maxim Lapierre tried to mix it up with giant John Scott. All 3 were given 10 minute misconducts on the play. But not 4 minutes later Victor Oreskovich was given a 10 minute misconduct for mixing it up with Marcus Kruger away from the play.

Just under 5 to go Scott and Raffi Torres, playing unpunished after his hit to the head of Brent Seabrook Sunday night (who didn't play), started a friendly chat before a faceoff, but the referees weren't fooled and handed them misconducts and sent them to the locker rooms early. And not a minute later Bieksa was engaged in fisticuffs with Viktor Stalberg after Stalberg checker Bieksa and tripped Lapierre.

The Canucks thought they had their way with the Hawks and showed their frustration through a series of undisciplined penalties. How much of this bad blood, which was missing until tonight, will carry over to Thursday night remains to be seen. But the Hawks aren't dead and one thing is certain. The Rat is back!

 

 

By: Tim Hoskinson
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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