Ben Smith scored on a rebound at 15:30 of overtime as the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3, last night in Chicago to force a seventh game in their opening-round series.
The Canucks, with the NHL’s best record during the regular season, have lost three straight. Game 7 is tomorrow night in Vancouver.
Smith, a rookie, followed in a long, hard shot from the point by Niklas Hjalmarsson that 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 after he was injured as he tried to stop Michael Frolik’s penalty shot that tied it at 3.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 32 saves, including 12 in overtime when the Canucks appeared ready to win the game and end the series.
The Blackhawks are attempting to become the fourth team in NHL history to win a seven-game series after falling behind, 3-0. The Flyers did it last year against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Flyers 5, Sabres 4 — Ville Leino scored 4:43 into overtime and Brian Boucher’s return in net sparked Philadelphia on the road to force Game 7 in its first-round series against Buffalo.
Danny Briere scored twice and Boucher stopped 24 shots over the final two periods after taking over for Michael Leighton, who allowed three goals on the first seven shots he faced. Leighton earned the start after stopping 20 shots in replacing Boucher Friday night.
Scott Hartnell had a goal and an 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 defenseman played sparingly after missing 21 games with a broken right hand.
Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo and Rob Niedermayer and Nathan Gerbe also scored. The deciding game is at Philadelphia tomorrow night.
Predators 4, Ducks 2 — Nick Spaling scored his second goal of the game at 4:53 of the third period and host Nashville wrapped up its first playoff series win in franchise history, eliminating Anaheim in six games.