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Hawks almost gone as Canucks shove them to brink of elimination

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



There really wasn’t much for the Blackhawks to say: Every player needs to do more, and more of everything is needed.

And that was their mind-set before Game 3 against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night at the United Center.

Now it should be ‘‘win or get out your golf clubs,’’ because it’s shaping up to be a long summer.

Last year’s Stanley Cup champions didn’t do enough or have enough in them in Game 3, and that means the series now belongs to the Canucks, who demonstrated it with a 3-2 victory.

The Hawks will make what could be their final stand — and try to avoid an embarrassing sweep — in Game 4 on Tuesday night at the United Center.

‘‘We’re in an awful spot right now,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said.

They were put there by another outstanding performance from goaltender Roberto Luongo (30 saves), Mikael Samuelsson’s game-winning goal in the third period, timely goals by Christian Ehrhoff and Daniel Sedin and another night of punishing checks by the Canucks.

‘‘They didn’t earn that win, they didn’t earn those three [goals] — we gave it to them,’’ Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘We only have ourselves to blame and ourselves to be disappointed in, especially with the crowd at your back.’’

A 3-0 series hole for the Hawks is the main story, but Raffi Torres’ hit to Brent Seabrook’s head in the second period epitomized the ruggedness the Canucks have displayed throughout the series to put the Hawks in that position.

The Hawks believed it should have been a major penalty. Torres was called for interference, and the Hawks tied the game at 2 on Patrick Sharp’s power-play goal 26 seconds later.

Still, it didn’t stop Torres from taking another run at Seabrook moments later. The Canucks have taken runs without repercussions in all three games. Not even enforcer John Scott’s short appearance in Game 3 could help.

‘‘We’re going to be physical regardless of who they have in the lineup,’’ Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. ‘‘Our game plan has been to initiate, not retaliate.’’

Those are the exact words the Hawks used last year.

For all that went their way, the Canucks nearly handed the game over by marching to the penalty box seven times. The Hawks’ top guns finally showed up on the power play. Sharp and Duncan Keith scored a power-play goal each, and Toews had two assists.

But again, the Hawks failed to take proper advantage. They had four power plays in the first period, including more than a minute of a 5-on-3. They also had two power plays in the third period on which they failed to convert.

‘‘When you don’t score on those 5-on-3’s, you just seem to lose the game,’’ said Patrick Kane, who saw multiple good chances turned away by Luongo.

‘‘I had my chances. I should have buried a couple. I have to step up to make those shots and make the game different.’’

Hawks goalie Corey Crawford (23 saves) again played well, but he allowed goals to Ehrhoff (power play) and Sedin 54 seconds apart in the second period. Scott was off for interference on Ehrhoff’s goal, which erased the Hawks’ 1-0 lead.

‘‘I don’t think we deserved to win the first two games, but tonight we came out and played pretty well,’’ Kane said. ‘‘[But] when you’re up 1-0, you can’t give up two quick goals.’’

The Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 3-0 series hole against the Boston Bruins last season en route to the Stanley Cup finals. But a lot has to go right for the Hawks to do that.

‘‘We’ve got pride, and it’s been done before,’’ Toews said. ‘‘We just have to start with the next one. . . . It’s our last chance to keep this series alive.’’



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