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updated: 4/25/2011 10:25 AM

Hawks force Game 7

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  • Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ben Smith (57) and Vancouver Canucks center Cody Hodgson (39) fight for the puck Sunday during the third period at the United Center. Smith scored on a rebound during overtime, allowing the Hawks to force a seventh game in the opening-round series.

      Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ben Smith (57) and Vancouver Canucks center Cody Hodgson (39) fight for the puck Sunday during the third period at the United Center. Smith scored on a rebound during overtime, allowing the Hawks to force a seventh game in the opening-round series.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Ben Smith scored on a rebound at 15:30 of overtime and the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Sunday night to force a seventh game in the opening-round series.

The Canucks, with the NHL's best record during the regular season, have lost three straight after it appeared they were in control of the series. Game 7 is Tuesday night in Vancouver.

Chicago is attempting to become the fourth team in NHL history to win a seven-game series after falling behind 3-0. The Philadelphia Flyers did it last year against Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Smith, a rookie, followed in a long, hard shot from the point by teammate Niklas Hjalmarsson that bounced off goalie Roberto Luongo.

Luongo didn't start the game but was called upon in the third period when Cory Schneider had to be helped off the ice when he was injured as he tried to stop Michael Frolik's penalty shot that tied it at 3.

Daniel Sedin, Alexandre Burrows and Kevin Bieska scored for the Canucks. Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland added goals for the Blackhawks.

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 32 saves, including 12 in overtime when the Canucks appeared ready to win the game and end the series.

Schneider was hurt trying to stop Frolik's goal at 2:31 of the final period and had to be helped off the ice after making 17 saves. Luongo, who'd been pulled in Games 4 and 5 after giving up 10 goals in 40 shots, then got his chance to play afterall. Luongo finished with 12 saves.

Luongo faced only two shots on goal over the remainder of the third period, including one in a final frantic rush by the Blackhawks. Even though Chicago had Canucks scrambling, the Blackhawks couldn't set up or find the go-ahead score and the game eventually headed to overtime.

With the teams playing 4-on-4 to start the third period, the Canucks took the lead on Bieksa's rebound goal 58 seconds in. He followed the puck in after a hard wrist shot from the right circle by Mason Raymond went off Crawford.

About a minute and a half later, Frolik was awarded a penalty shot when Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis took him down on a breakaway. Frolik skated in, faked one way and went the other to beat Schneider, who was got twisted on the play.

After Luongo replaced Schneider, the Canucks dominated play and had a chance to take the lead again, but Chris Higgins' attempt banged the post with just more than 5 minutes to go.

Chicago defenseman Chris Campoli nearly whiffed on a clearing pass and Burrows was right there to convert from the slot, giving the Canucks a 2-1 lead with just over a minute remaining in the opening period.

After being foiled by Schneider on a power play in which they had a two-man advantage for one minutes and 43 seconds, the Blackhawks tied it when Kane picked up a clearing attempt by Schneider and fed Bolland in the slot and he rammed it home.

Luongo had no health issue, a team spokesman said. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said after Chicago's 5-0 win in Game 5 that Luongo was still the guy, but that changed. Luongo has, at times, has struggled against the Blackhawks in the playoffs over the last three years. But in others he was brilliant, like his 32-save shutout in the opener.

Schneider was making his first playoff start and just his third ever postseason appearance -- he relieved Luongo in Games 4 and 5.

The Canucks scored first. After Hjalmarsson failed to clear a puck, the Canucks kept it in the zone and Daniel Sedin took a pass off the boards from twin brother Henrik Sedin and wrapped it around the goal and past Crawford just more than 2 minutes into the game. It was Daniel Sedin's fifth goal of the series.

Bolland's crushing hit behind the net on Vancouver's Hamhuis forced a weak pass and Bickell picked it off and beat Schneider -- who seconds earlier had ventured out of the net to clear a loose puck. That tied it at 1.

Chicago's Brent Seabrook, out for two games following a hard shoulder-to-head hit from Raffi Torres in Game 3, returned to the Blackhawks' lineup and withstood a hard check from Victor Oreskovich in the opening period.

Moments after Burrows hit the post on a power-play attempt, Torres was called for goalie interference. Mason Raymond was assessed a hooking penalty, giving the Blackhawks a 5-on-3 for 1:43. The Blackhawks called timeout during the power play, but Schneider responded, turning away five Chicago shots.

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