Playoff Game of the Night

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game 6: Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks @ United Center
3-4 Final OT; Series tied 3-3

After being defeated by five in the last two games, the Vancouver Canucks looked to finally seal this series all up and put it behind them.

Having momentum on their side, do the Chicago Blackhawks have enough to make it to Game 7? Or did their luck finally run out?

After being the replacement twice, Cory Schneider got the nod for the start of Game 6, making it a Battle of the Cory's/Corey's once again.

Putting the pressure burner on early, the Canucks' top-line - Daniel and Henrik Sedin with Alex Burrows - got the first goal of the game at 2:07! Daniel Sedin received the feed from behind the net from his brother Henrik Sedin and went for the wrap-around on Corey Crawford. The puck slid against Crawford's pads, but the warp-around made it in as the puck crossed the line just enough to be noticed by all that it was a clear goal.

Feeling the heat in the kitchen, the Blackhawks start to put on their heat to counteract that of Vancouver's. Half-way through the game, the two teams are even in shots (3-3, but it doesn't feel like it) and the two teams are going hard to the net. The Canucks looked better though, playing the better defence and the better special teams' game.

Then, Chicago evened the ice. The heat was put on by both teams and the Blackhawks cashed in. The play went from one end to the other and the initial shot by Dave Bolland was put aside by Schneider after he delivered a big hit to Dan Hamhuis. But Schneider was out of his proper stance after the shot and was caught by Bryan Bickell who banked in the loose rebound into the back of the open net.

Bringing the momentum back their way, Vancouver's Alex Burrows scored his first of this year's playoffs with just over two minutes in the period to spare! A little weaving while they skated, Christian Ehrhoff carried the puck into the zone accompanied by Ryan Kesler and Burrows. Ehrhoff got the puck into the crowd of Blackhawks and Burrows and Kesler. Burrows's arrow-like shot went right through the crowd and past Crawford to give the lead back to Vancouver.

In the second period, the mishap occurred. Caught in miscommunication with the defence, Schneider gave the puck away to Patrick Kane who made the pass to a Dave Bolland who one-timed the shot past a scrambling Schneider!

At the end of the middle period, a couple of penalties were handed out - one to Henrik Sedin for diving and one to Brian Campbell for cross-checking. So on the 4-on-4, Kevin Bieksa banks in the pass from Mason Raymond. Bieksa stops and scores as his cheque, Jonathan Toews, continued on past the net, thinking that Bieksa was going to do the same thing. But caught on the change, Michael Frolik got pulled down by Hamhuis and was awarded the penalty-shot. Frolik went in with speed and his forehand beat Schneider and down he went with an injury. Make way for Roberto Luongo! This game had more drama than a daytime soap opera or worse, a teen drama! And what better way to add to the script than to add an overtime period!

In the OT period, things got a little mad - and I love it! This game had some crazy good hockey with a spice of drama. It definitely played up to being a contender for the best series in the first round. Both teams put on the burner and Chicago had some crazy chances, but the Canucks had some crazy answers for those chances with more crazy chances of their own. But despite that, the Blackhawks were the one to sum up the game-winning OT goal. A scramble in front of Luongo's net allowed Ben Smith to get the goal and back to Vancouver we go for Game 7! And just to say, I called this series from the beginning that Vancouver would win it in seven. I was prepared for three losses, but OT losses hurt a lot and 5-goal-difference losses hurt a LOT more.
3 stars:
(1) Ben Smith
(2) Dave Bolland
(3) Alex Burrows

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