PIC OF THE GAME
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CHICAGO (AP) -Andrew Ladd had perfect position. When the puck came flying off teammate Dave Bolland's stick from far away, Ladd was right in front of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo
to tip it in.
Ladd's goal less than 3 minutes into overtime Thursday night capped a remarkable 2-1 comeback victory for the Chicago Blackhawks and tied the Western Conference semifinal series at 2.
"Bolland has great patience with the puck," Ladd said. "He turned around, saw my stick and got it to the right spot. We've got a little momentum here and can take it back to Vancouver."
Game 5 is Saturday night in Vancouver and the Canucks will have to regroup after losing a game they apparently had sealed up. Chicago's Martin Havlat tied it at 1 with 2:44 left in regulation after Luongo had been unflappable most of the night.
"We were a couple of minutes away from winning this game," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "It happened. We've got to deal with it and get ready for the next game."
"We’re not in a defensive mode here, we’re trying to play a high percentage, wait until the other team makes a mistake and then pounce on them," he said of the criticism his team got with just four shots on net in the final frame. "They didn’t make a lot of mistakes and when they did make mistakes, we weren’t able to execute and make them pay for it. A couple of odd man rushes in the third and we didn’t get it done and right off the bat in overtime."
After the Canucks had two point-blank shots to score, but were turned away by Nikolai Khabibulin, Bolland chased down the puck along the boards at the other end. He fired a shot from beyond the right circle and Ladd knocked it in at 2:52 of overtime.
"It was a shot from the half wall. Ladd was right in front of me," said Luongo, who finished with 26 saves. "It was coming fast from the outside of the net. I extended my leg and he tipped it in the five-hole, so it was a good play by him."
"We weren’t able to get the puck off the wall there and he kind of missed the shot and it was able to find a hole," said Luongo. "Those are tough to take, but it’s tight games like that sometimes they’re going to happen."
Assisted on the tying goal in the third and scored the overtime game winner for the Hawks.
Scored a late third period goal to force te game into overtime and assisted on the game winning goal.
Opened the game scoring and scored his first ever NHL playoff goal.
Havlat's tying goal came on a wrist shot from between the circles after Ladd had worked the puck free from the boards and shoveled it in his direction.
"I had 1-on-1 against the goalie and Ladd gave me a great pass. I had a lot of time and I haven't had that in this series," Havlat said. "We kept fighting until the last second and it paid off. We were patient."
In the closing seconds of regulation, Bolland had a breakaway before Vancouver's Alexander Edler
caught up to him, hit his stick from behind and then forced him away from the net. Bolland went down on the play and the crowd at the United Center screamed for a penalty with 8.2 seconds to go.
took a pass from a spinning Rick Rypien
to score his first ever playoff goal midway through the second period to put the Canucks up 1-0 - the fourth straight game Vancouver opened the scoring.
And Luongo again appeared too tough for the Blackhawks to crack. After allowing eight goals in the two games at Vancouver, Luongo gave up just one in Game 3 and looked on his way to a shutout before Havlat tied it.
"A huge comeback for us. We're right back in the series now," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It looked grim, but the enthusiasm was in the right places."
After Chicago's Jonathan Toews had his shot blocked, Rypien scooped up the puck and raced to the other end against Blackhawks defenseman Matt Walker. Just before reaching the circles, Rypien made his nifty spin move to evade Walker and then passed to Hordichuk, who beat Khabibulin on the stick side for the 1-0 lead.
The goal came shortly after Luongo made a spectacular stop on a rebound attempt by Chicago's Troy Brouwer. After the Canucks went ahead and with each team down a man, Luongo made a sprawling pad save to deny Patrick Sharp.
Despite the Hawks outshooting the Canucks 28-15, the Canucks controlled most of the plays and limited Chicago's chances.
"I’d say it was a pretty close game and we had the lead and we were doing what we needed to to protect that lead as far as paying the price and blocking shots and stuff like that, but I don’t think we really outplayed them," said Luongo.
Chicago came out with strong early rush and Luongo had five saves in the first 6 minutes, including another nice pad stop of Toews' point-blank attempt just as a power play was expiring.
The Blackhawks mustered an 8-4 shots-on-goal advantage but were blanked in the opening period for the fourth straight game.
Khabibulin finished with 14 saves.
The teams head back to Vancouver for game five, where the series lead is again, up for grabs. Game time is 7:30 at GM Place.
Notes: Canucks D Sami Salo
, who rejoined the team Tuesday night after being injured in Game 2, did not play for a second straight game. ... Baseball Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk participated in a goal shooting contest between the second and third periods. ... NBA rookie of the year Derrick Rose of the Bulls dropped the ceremonial first puck.