CHICAGO (AP) - Ben Smith tuned into the advice of his Blackhawks teammates, the ones who won the Stanley Cup a year ago. Even when they lost the first three games of this year's opening-round series to the Vancouver Canucks, there was still a chance.
``It's never over until you lose that fourth game. The older guys harped on that,' Smith said Sunday night after his overtime goal gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory and sent the spirited series back to Rogers Arena for a deciding Game 7 on Tuesday.
``It wouldn't say it's amazing. It's something we all hoped for. Down 3-0 nobody panicked,' Smith said. ``Nobody quit.'
Vancouver had the best record in the NHL this season and had command of the series. And the Canucks came out fast and hard Sunday night in what turned into a remarkable game in the earsplitting United Center. Coach Alain Vigneault said it was Vancouver's best game of the series, despite the loss.
After lopsided Chicago wins in Games 4 and 5, Vigneault mixed it up. He went with backup Cory Schneider in goal after struggling Roberto Luongo had yielded 10 goals in 40 shots over the previous two games.
Turns out Luongo was back on the ice in the third period and overtime Sunday because Schneider was injured - he called it cramping - after he tried to stop a game-tying penalty shot by Michael Frolik.
``I was a little surprised, but Alain just wanted to shake it up and give a different look and let Lu get his game back into form and try to make the most of my opportunity and give my team a chance to win,' said Schneider, who finished with 17 saves and turned away a 5-on-3 Chicago power play for one minute, 43 seconds.
So who will play in Game 7?
``I have no idea. We really haven't really talked about it. Lu looked great in the third period and overtime in a tough spot,' Schneider said.
Luongo and Schneider said they found out Saturday about the switch.
``It's not something I'm used to, but obviously once I got into it, I thought the boys really tightened up defensively and didn't give up much for the rest of the third and game me a chance to get into the game,' said Luongo, who had 12 saves.
``I think were really happy with how we played in the second half of the game. We're going to take that and try to build on that for Game 7.'
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.
``Anything can happen in Vancouver,' said Smith, a rookie who made his NHL debut in October. ``I'm just trying to take a deep breath every once in a while. ... They've got some great players. It's nerve racking when they've got the puck. They really took it to us for a while.'
At 15:30 of overtime, Smith followed Niklas Hjalmarsson's shot from point that bounced off Luongo.
``I was just trying to fight for body position,' said Smith, who has three goals in the series.
``I got a piece of it with my (stick) knob and I'm not sure exactly what happened,' Luongo said. ``I think Smith just chipped it over me on the rebound.'
Daniel Sedin, Alexandre Burrows and Kevin Bieksa scored for the Canucks. Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland added goals for the Blackhawks.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 32 saves, including 12 in overtime when it looked as if the Canucks would win any second.
``They were throwing a lot on net,' said Crawford, another rookie. ``It was probably the biggest game of my career. A lot of fun to win.'
With the teams playing 4-on-4 to start the third period, the Canucks took the lead on Bieksa's rebound goal 58 seconds in.
About a minute and a half later, Frolik was awarded the penalty shot when Dan Hamhuis took him down on a breakaway. Frolik skated in, faked one way and went the other to beat Schneider, who was got twisted on the play.
``I didn't listen to the crowd,' Frolik said. ``I focused on myself, tried this move and hoped it worked.'
After Luongo replaced Schneider, the Canucks dominated play and had a chance to take the lead again, but Chris Higgins' attempt hit the post with just more than 5 minutes to go.
NOTES: Canucks defenseman Sami Salo played only four shifts. He had an undisclosed injury.
The Associated Press News Service
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