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NHL Playoffs 2011: Canucks Finally Oust Blackhawks In Overtime Thriller; Red Wings Draw Sharks In Round Two

Vancouver avoided becoming the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead, finally dusting off the Chicago Blackhawks in a Game 7 overtime thriller on Tuesday. In other playoff action, Philadelphia overcame Buffalo and Montreal forced a Game 7 with Boston.

Vancouver 2, Chicago 1 (OT): Alex Burrows scored two goals, including the game-winner 5:22 into the extra session to help Vancouver exorcise some playoff demons and oust Chicago in seven games. Burrows took a penalty just 24 seconds into overtime, but the Canucks killed it off, allowing Burrows to steal a puck in the Blackhawks zone and fire a slapper over Corey Crawford’s right shoulder for the win. Crawford was all over the ice most of the night, stopping 36 shots in the loss. Roberto Luongo—pulled in Games 4 and 5 and benched at the start of Game 6—stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced for Vancouver.

Philadelphia 5, Buffalo 2: Five different Flyers found the back of the net in a less-than-exciting finish to an otherwise gut-wrenching series. MSU product Ryan Miller had a rough night, giving up four goals on 28 shots and was pulled early in the third period. Game 7 was the only game in the series decided by more than two goals, which included two contests that went to overtime and three others that were decided by one goal in regulation.

Montreal 2, Boston 1: Brian Gionta’s tally 5:48 into the second period turned out to be the difference as Montreal forced yet another Game 7 in these wild NHL playoffs. Michigan product Mike Cammalleri scored midway through the first period and Carey Price stopped 32 of 31 shots in net for Montreal. The two teams will travel all the way back to Boston tonight because they’ll be playing Game 7 on Wednesday with no rest. Yeah, that’s a great scheduling job.

With Vancouver’s win, the Western Conference semifinals are all set. Vancouver will host the Nashville Predators since the Predators are the lowest remaining seed. That means the Detroit Red Wings will be forced to start on the road in San Jose—a rematch of last year’s second round series.

Series Standings Through Tuesday
Detroit defeated Phoenix 4-0
Nashville defeated Anaheim 4-2
San Jose defeated Los Angeles 4-2
Vancouver defeated Chicago 4-3
Second Round Matchups: Nashville at Vancouver, Detroit at San Jose (dates TBD)

Washington defeated New York 4-1
Philadelphia defeated Buffalo 4-3
Wednesday’s games: Montreal at Boston, 7 p.m. Versus (series tied 3-3); Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (series tied 3-3), 8 p.m. CBC, 9:30 p.m. Versus (joined in progress)