CHICAGO – Ben Smith scored on a rebound at 15:30 of overtime and the 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 appearing to be 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. Philadelphia did it last year against Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Smith, a rookie, scored after Niklas Hjalmarsson’s shot from the point 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 3-3.
Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland added goals for the Blackhawks, and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 32 saves, including 12 in overtime when the Canucks appeared ready to win the game and end the series.
Daniel Sedin, Alexandre Burrows and Kevin Bieska scored for the Canucks.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Ville Leino scored 4:43 into overtime and Brian Boucher’s return in another relief appearance helped Philadelphia force Game 7 in the first-round series against Buffalo.
Danny Briere scored twice and Boucher stopped 24 shots over the final two periods and overtime in a 5-4 victory Sunday in the tightly contested Eastern Conference series.
Game 7 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
Boucher took over to start the second period after Michael Leighton allowed three goals on the first seven shots he faced. Scott Hartnell had a goal and assist and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Flyers, who overcame a two-goal deficit while drawing upon Chris Pronger’s presence. The gritty defenceman played sparingly in his first game after missing 21 because of a broken right hand.
Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo, and Rob Niedermayer and Nathan Gerbe added goals.
Kris Versteeg helped set up Leino’s goal. After getting his first shot blocked, Versteeg gained the rebound and flipped the puck at the net, bouncing it off several players. The puck fell in the crease where Leino—a step ahead of defender Chris Butler—slid it into the open side behind diving goalie Ryan Miller.
Hartnell forced overtime by scoring with 9:17 left in third.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Nick Spaling scored his second goal of the game at 4:53 of the third period and Nashville closed out its first post-season series victory to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.
Steve Sullivan added a goal, David Legwand had an empty-netter and Jordin Tootoo assisted on Spaling’s goals. The Predators won the series 4-2 in their sixth post-season in seven seasons.
Jason Blake scored a power-play goal, and Teemu Selanne also had a goal for the Ducks, his sixth of the series. Anaheim lost in the opening round for the third time in seven playoffs.
The fifth-seeded Predators must wait and see who they play next.