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Blackhawks battle back from two-goal deficit to defeat Canucks, tie series

Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Sharp's shot goes past Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo during second period NHL hockey action in game 2 of the western conference semi-final at GM Place in Vancouver, Saturday, May 2, 2009.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

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Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Sharp's shot goes past Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo during second period NHL hockey action in game 2 of the western conference semi-final at GM Place in Vancouver, Saturday, May 2, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Blackhawks are making comebacks a winning habit in the playoffs.

Chicago battled back from a two-goal deficit and used Dave Bolland's short-handed goal to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 on Saturday night to tie their Western Conference semifinal series 1-1.

It was the fifth time in this year's playoffs the Blackhawks have battled back when trailing.

"It's a long game," said captain Jonathan Toews, who earned an assist in the victory. "As long as you give yourself a chance to get back in there . . . it's a long ways from being done, especially if we are only down two goals.

"Once we get that first goal it's a confidence builder. Every single line feels like they can go out there and something will happen."

Bolland put the Blackhawks ahead 3-2 at 16:50 of the second period while Chicago was killing a hooking penalty to Patrick Kane.

Defenceman Duncan Keith lifted a high pass to Bolland, who had snuck behind the Canuck defence. He broke in alone on Roberto Luongo, deked the Vancouver goaltender to the ice, and slid a forehand shot into the net.

Bolland later scored into an empty net.

Patrick Sharp scored twice for Chicago, his second coming on a five-on-three power play. The Canucks were at a further disadvantage because Ryan Kesler, one of their best penalty killers, had broken his stick.

Ben Eager and Kane also scored for the Blackhawks, who notched five unanswered goals. Three of those came in the second period when Vancouver was outshot 13-5.

The Canucks won Thursday's opening game of the conference semifinal 5-3. The best-of-seven series now heads to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday.

Defencemen Sami Salo and Alexander Edler, with his first of the playoffs, scored for the Canucks. Henrik Sedin also scored late in the third period. All the Vancouver goals came on the power play.

Salo's goal was his third of the playoffs and second of the series, but he left the game soon after scoring and did not return, forcing the Canucks to juggle their defensive pairings.

Coach Alain Vigneault said Salo had a "lower body injury" and is listed as day-to-day.

Salo missed the fourth game of the Canuck's first-round sweep of the St. Louis Blues with an injury.

Saturday's loss was the first of the playoffs for the Canucks.

"It feels like we didn't play a terrible game," said Sedin. "We didn't execute on some plays.

"There shorthanded goal was just a mistake from our side. We did a few mistakes and it cost us."

Chicago outshot Vancouver 31-21.

One of Luongo's best saves came in the second period when he made a diving stop his with his stick to block a shot from Eager. That brought chants of "Louuu" from the sellout crowd of 18,630.

The win was the first for Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin against Vancouver in 13 starts. His last victory over the Canucks was Jan. 26, 1998, when he played for the Phoenix Coyotes.

The bad blood between the teams began to boil late in the third period with pushing and shoving after whistles.

The Canucks started the game well, scoring power-play goals 1:09 apart in the first period.

Salo opened the scoring at 5:35 when he wired a shot from the point that sailed over Khabibulin's glove. The goal came just 30 seconds after Chicago's Nikolai Hjalmarsson was called for delay of game.

Edler made it 2-0 at 6:44, on another blast from the point just 10 seconds into a two-man advantage.

The Blackhawks seemed to take over the game after the second Vancouver goal using used their speed and size to keep the Canucks hemmed in their own zone.

Khabibulin was forced to make a couple key saves. He stopped a shot from defenceman Shane O'Brien, then stoned Alex Burrows.

Chicago also got lucky when Steve Bernier had Khabibulin down and out, but slid the puck past the outside of the post.

Notes: Forward Taylor Pyatt, whose fiance was killed in a April 2 car accident, took the pre-game skate but was scratched from the lineup. He missed the final five games of the regular season and has not played in the playoffs. ...The Canucks have recalled Jeff Cowan, 32, from Peoria of the American Hockey League. ...Luongo had not allowed a goal against Chicago in 111 minutes 28 seconds before Kane beat him in the third period of Game 1 . ...Vancouver had 12 players recording points in their Game 1 win.

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