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Blackhawks prove it’s not over yet with dominating Game 4 win

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



There will be another game. And there might be more after that, too.

Whatever their motivation was, the Blackhawks put on the type of riveting performance that only raises hope. The reigning Stanley Cup champions finally played like it. The Hawks laid waste to the Vancouver Canucks with a dominant 7-2 victory Tuesday in Game 4 of their best-of-seven playoff series at the United Center.

It was a gaudy offensive showcase — led by Dave Bolland’s triumphant four-point return from a concussion — that gave Hawks fans hope their team is capable of making a miraculous run after losing the first three games of the series. Game 5 is Thursday in Vancouver.

‘‘We want to win this series bad,’’ defenseman Brian Campbell said. ‘‘Some games haven’t gone our way, some bounces and, obviously, some mistakes. .  .  . We have to go to Vancouver and see what happens. And give it all we’ve got.’’

The Hawks gave it all they had Tuesday. Campbell was one of six Hawks who scored. Patrick Sharp scored twice on the power play,
Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists and Patrick Kane two assists.

But the victory will be best remembered for the exploits of Bolland. He was the hero.

Bolland, who was playing for the first time since suffering a concussion March 9, had an unassisted goal and three assists. His chip pass sprung Frolik for a breakaway goal and punctuated the Hawks’ four-goal second period.

Every member of Bolland’s line — Bolland, Frolik and Bryan Bickell, who scored the Hawks’ first goal 1:43 into the game — had a plus-4 rating despite playing primarily against the Sedin twins. Henrik Sedin was a minus-4.

‘‘Maybe [Bolland] was rested,’’ a smiling Frolik said. ‘‘Always when you’re in your first game back, you have so much excitement. He knows we were struggling, and he was great. He’s a good player — a great player.’’

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who had been so good in the first three games of the series, allowed six goals on 28 shots. He was replaced by Cory Schneider early in the third period. Schneider allowed Sharp’s second power-play goal.

The Hawks were just all over the Canucks, who got power-play goals from Sami Salo in the first period and Daniel Sedin in the third.

‘‘We need to keep playing aggressive like that, and it showed,’’ said defenseman Duncan Keith, who scored 17 seconds after Campbell in the second period to give the Hawks a 3-1 advantage. ‘‘We got the momentum and we kept it, and we need to keep it going into the next game.’’

The Canucks also broke down. The rout rattled the typically calm team, which was assessed 11 penalties — including four 10-minute misconducts — in the third period.

The Hawks made sure to get in Raffi Torres’ face for his questionable hit on defenseman Brent Seabrook during Game 3. The physical play was dominated by the Hawks.

‘‘We don’t have anything to lose,’’ said Hawks tough guy John Scott, who was in the middle of all the trouble in the third period. ‘‘If we go out there and play like we did [tonight], we’ll be fine.’’

The sense of desperation of being in an elimination game was apparent.

‘‘We’re just trying to be another team to come from 3-0 [in a series] two years in a row,’’ Campbell said. ‘‘It’s a situation our team hasn’t been involved in for a while. Last year, we were never involved in that situation. So it’s been a couple of years.

‘‘We didn’t want to end it like this. We’re too good of a team not to challenge Vancouver into a series. Obviously, they’re in great shape and they’re a great hockey club. But we’re just going to have some fun and see what can go on.’’



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