The Vancouver Canucks went from headhunters to being the hunted and came unhinged in the process.
Two days after Canucks forward Raffi Torres was penalized for two hits on Blackhawks players — including a blind-side shoulder to the head of Brent Seabrook that outraged Hawks coach Joel Quenneville and his players — the Hawks hit back in a major way Tuesday in Game 4.
The Hawks outhit Vancouver (44-33) for the first time in the series, with Bryan Bickell (eight hits), Troy Brouwer (seven), Chris Campoli and Viktor Stalberg (six each) leading the Hawks in licks. Dave Bolland
returned from a concussion to torment Henrik and Daniel Sedin (a combined minus-7) in the Blackhawks’ 7-2 victory to stave off a sweep and send the series back to Vancouver.
When the Hawks roughed up the Canucks for seven goals Nov. 20 during the regular season, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault accused Quenneville and the Hawks of running up the score. Vigneault didn’t go back to that well after Game 4.
“[That’s] playoff hockey,” Vigneault said. “You can do what you want in playoff hockey.”
The Canucks came unglued in the third period, committing 11 penalties — including 10-minute misconducts for Torres, Maxim Lapierre, Tanner Glass and Victor Oreskovich — after the Hawks hung six goals on Roberto Luongo and got the goalie pulled. But after the game, the Canucks refused to admit there were cracks in what previously had been a calm demeanor and denied losing their composure.
“We were controlled the whole time, and we finished the game hard,” said defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who seemed to be momentarily shaken up after getting hit by former teammate Ryan Johnson in the first period. “We weren’t going to give up and quit.
‘‘We stayed physical, and that’s the way we play.”
Torres refused to address the hit he put on Seabrook that caused the Hawks defenseman to miss Game 4 and said that he thought the Hawks were targeting him personally.
“Oh, yeah,” Torres said. “That’s fine. If they do that, then I’m doing my job, so I was fine with that.”
The way the Canucks are spinning it, they were headed back to Vancouver anyway. They might as well let the Hawks tag along for the ride.
“Anybody going into this series probably didn’t think we would sweep this in four,” Vigneault said. “We had a bad game, we know it and we’re going to get ready for the next one.”