NHL: Versteeg goal allows Blackhawks to tie series 1-1
By RICK GANO
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO — Kris Versteeg scored go the go-ahead goal from the left circle with 1:30 left and the Chicago Blackhawks rallied to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Monday night to even the Western Conference semifinals at 1-1.
Game 3 will be played Wednesday night in Vancouver.
In a furious final rush, Versteeg initially lost the puck near the goal. Dave Bolland dug it out, slid it to Brent Seabrook, who passed it to Duncan Keith at the point. Keith then passed to Versteeg for a shot that beat goalie Roberto Luongo to send the United Center into a frenzy.
Patrick Kane added an empty-netter with 47.7 seconds left and fans littered the ice with souvenir red towels.
The Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp tied the game earlier in the third with a short-handed goal.
Vancouver scored twice in the first 5:02 of the game. Mason Raymond had a goal, and Mikael Samuelsson added a power-play tally. Seabrook brought the Blackhawks within a goal in the first.
Chicago's Antti Niemi finished with 24 saves. Luongo stopped 29 shots.
Sharp's short-handed goal at 6:49 of the third came at the end of a 2-on-1 break. He chipped the puck past a defender to start the rush, skated in from the right, waited until Luongo committed and then beat them with a backhand.
Chicago nearly took the lead on another short-handed opportunity late in the period. Marian Hossa came up with a steal but couldn't get off a good shot before Luongo covered up. Sharp had another breakaway, but shot high over Luongo's glove with a little more than five minutes to play.
Raymond got his second goal of the playoffs with a rebound score. Kevin Bieksa fired a long shot from the right point, and when Ryan Kesler couldn't convert the first rebound attempt from in front, Raymond followed it in — 1:22 into the game.
Less than four minutes later, Vancouver converted during a two-man advantage when Henrik Sedin threaded a perfect pass cross the top of the crease to Samuelsson, who scored his eighth of the postseason to make it a quick two-goal lead.
Playing with more spark and aggressiveness than in Game 1, Chicago finally scored on Luongo even strength. Luongo had made 36 saves in the opener. The Blackhawks' only goal in that 5-1 loss came with a two-man advantage.
Bolland made a pass from behind the net to Andrew Ladd. When he was unable to score, Seabrook was there to get the rebound for his first of the playoffs.
In the second, Luongo was sharp again. He denied breakaways attempts by Adam Burish and Versteeg and denied a close-in attempt by Versteeg.
The Canucks had a 3-on-1, short-handed break later in the period, but Niemi snuffed an attempt by Ryan Kesler to keep it at 2-1.
NOTES: Chicago forwards Burish and Ben Eager, scratches in Game 1, were added to Chicago's lineup.