Blackhawks stop Canucks, lead 3-1
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Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks have kept their cool while the Vancouver Canucks have lost theirs.
Now they are just one win away from a return trip to the Western Conference finals.
Toews scored three power-play goals and added two assists as the visiting Blackhawks beat Vancouver, 7-4, last night and grabbed a 3-1 lead in the second-round series. The more the Canucks have taken bad penalties and displayed a lack of discipline, the more Chicago has made them pay with its lethal power play.
"We stuck with our game plan," said Toews, who took over the NHL playoff scoring lead with 18 points. "We know now nothing they do or whatever is going to take us off that plan or away from what we are doing as a team."
Patrick Sharp also scored on the power play and Tomas Kopecky added a goal shortly after another expired. Chicago, which went 4 for 8 with the man advantage, has won three straight after dropping the series opener at home.
"The power play had a heck of a night," said Sharp, who added three assists.
Brent Seabrook scored 18 seconds in, Dave Bolland scored into an empty net with 37 seconds left, and Antti Niemi made 26 saves for Chicago, which can advance to hockey's final four with a win at home tomorrow.
FLYERS WIN, CUT BRUINS' LEAD TO 3-1
Simon Gagne made a timely return to the lineup, scoring in overtime to help the host Philadelphia Flyers hold off elimination by beating the Boston Bruins, 5-4, last night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Gagne played for the first time since he broke his right toe in Game 4 of Philadelphia's opening-round series against New Jersey.
"It's a good ending," Gagne said. "I can't ask for more to be able to come back early a little bit in the series."
Game 5 is Monday at Boston. The Bruins can still advance to their first conference finals since 1992 with a win on their home ice.
HAMLIN CAPTURES NATIONWIDE RACE
Denny Hamlin doesn't care which Kyle Busch he beat last night at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C.
Hamlin pulled away from Busch over the final five laps to take the Royal Purple 200, his third straight Nationwide series victory at the track.
Earlier, Hamlin playfully shot down Busch's contention from last week that he was the "new and improved Kyle Busch" who persevered to win at Richmond.
Busch almost did it again this time, sliding to about a half-car length ahead of Hamlin on the final restart before falling back in line behind his friend.
"I talked to him over the radio," Hamlin said. "I said, 'Is this the new Kyle or the old Kyle?' "
UCONN'S CALHOUN SIGNS $13M DEAL
Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun, coming off a year marred by health problems, an NCAA investigation and a disappointing performance on the court, has signed a five-year, $13 million contract.
The school announced yesterday that the Hall of Fame coach will be paid $2 million retroactive to last season and $2.3 million next season. Calhoun, who turns 68 on Monday, had been making $1.6 million under a previous contract that was set to expire on June 30.
"I am happy that this new contract will allow me to finish my coaching career here at UConn," Calhoun said in a written statement.