CHICAGO – There wasn’t a lot that went right for the Vancouver Canucks in a blowout playoff loss to the rival Chicago Blackhawks.
But Canucks coach Alain Vignault says any problems exposed in his team’s 7-2 thrashing at the United Centre on Tuesday can be easily smoothed out when they return home.
“We got outworked by the opposition,” Vigneault said. “It (was) about our work ethic and we can fix that easily.
“We’re going to park this one, turn the page on it and get ready for the next one.”
The Blackhawks used a four-goal second period flurry on the way to their first win in the best-of-seven series.
Vancouver still has a 3-1 edge and could wrap up the series Thursday when it returns to Rogers Arena, the site of two playoff victories over Blackhawks last week.
“Last time I checked we were up 3-1 in the series,” Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo said. “We’re a team that’s overcome a lot of things, so there’s no point in beating ourselves up.”
The defending Stanley Cup champs, meanwhile, were elated they had battled back from the brink.
“It’s definitely what we needed,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. “Not only did we need a win, but it was great to win big and be able to prove a point. We wanted to go out there and play for each other and I think everything finally snowballed in our favour.”
Chicago’s big second period included a pair of goals 17 seconds apart.
The first came just after a Chicago power play as defenceman Brian Campbell picked up his first series goal after a Patrick Kane feed at the 5:18 mark. Seconds later, defenceman Duncan Keith punched in his second goal of the series.
The rout was on by the 9:45 mark as centre Dave Bolland beat Luongo on an unassisted 15-foot shot for a 4-1 lead.
Left-winger Michael Frolik, acquired in early February in a trade with Florida, padded Chicago’s advantage when he beat Luongo on a breakaway at 18:57.
Luongo, who left the game early in the third period after Chicago opened a 6-1 lead, shrugged off second period woes.
“I felt good, I was seeing the puck well,” he said. “I made a lot of good saves in the first period—similar to the other night. In the second, they kept on pushing and they got a few goals.
Luongo had apparent trouble moving towards the locker-room after the first period, but said it was a simply a temporary cramp.
“I’m just going to put in behind me and move on,” he said.
Centre Henrick Sedin said Tuesday’s breakdowns were uncharacteristic.
“We gave up more 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s than we have all season,” he said. “Overall it was not a good performance. But this is where we want to be. up 3-1. Now we’ve got to go home and make it a positive and regroup for the next game.”
Five Chicago’s goals came with both teams at even strength. Entering Game 4, the Blackhawks had only scored three times in 5-on-5 situations.
Patrick Sharp added a power play goal early in the third and the Canucks sat Luongo shortly after, replacing him with backup Cory Schneider. Sharp scored a final power play score at 13:29.
With the game out out of reach, bad blood surfaced in the third period with pushing, shoving and fights. Eighteen players were penalized in the final period, including six 10-minute game misconducts, four assessed on the Canucks.