The Blackhawks knew they’d have to play their best game of the series Sunday night at the United Center — and they did. But it wasn’t enough, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Blackhawks 3-2 to take a commanding three games to none lead in their first round NHL playoff series.
The Hawks took the lead — their first of the series — when Duncan Keith scored on a power play in the first period. Both of the Blackhawks goals were on power plays, but Vancouver did an excellent job of penalty killing; the Hawks had six power plays, but converted on only two of them. Meanwhile, the Canucks converted on their first power play opportunity to tie the game midway through the second period, and then 54 seconds later Daniel Sedin gave Vancouver the lead.
The Blackhawks tied the game again less than two minutes later on another power play goal, this one by Patrick Sharp. The score stayed that way until Mikael Samuelsson got open 6:48 into the third period for what turned out to be the game winner.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane could not convert numerous opportunities and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo turned away 30 shots for the win.
Game Four — which the Blackhawks must win or go to an early summer vacation — will be on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. CDT at the UC.