CHICAGO – The kids made sure the Blackhawks are moving on.
Patrick Kane had his first hat trick and Jonathan Toews scored the go-ahead goal in a wild third period Monday night as Chicago advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1995 by beating the Vancouver Canucks 7-5.
“It’s about time I got the first hat trick. I’ve been waiting two years. I guess it can’t come in a better game than this,” the 20-year-old Kane said.
In the thunderous United Center, the Blackhawks rallied from a one-goal deficit twice in the third period and put up four scores against Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo to win the series 4-2. Next up is Detroit or Anaheim.
“It’s awesome. We didn’t want to go back to Vancouver,” the 21-year-old Toews said. “Nobody knew what was going to happen. It was unbelievable. . . We’ve found ways to come back, especially late in games.”
Even the usually unemotional Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was shaking his head over the final period, when he said it was so loud he had trouble making line calls.
“I don’t think anybody anticipated the craziness of the third period. The turns and swings were gigantic,” Quenneville said.
“How it unraveled and unfolded, it was an amazing ending.”
When Chicago’s Troy Brouwer was called for goaltender interference with just under 8 minutes remaining, Daniel Sedin scored quickly with a shot from the left circle that put the Canucks ahead 5-4.
Kane responded. He got a puck from behind the net and then maneuvered to the side and put a shot under Luongo to tie the game at 5.
Then, 49 seconds later on a power play, Toews worked around the side and tried to pass across the crease to Patrick Sharp. But the puck deflected in off Vancouver’s Alexander Edler with 6:11 left.
Capitals 5, Penguins 4: At Pittsburgh, David Steckel scored on a deflection of Brooks Laich’s shot and the Capitals finally won an overtime playoff game to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Capitals, losers of their seven previous overtime games, couldn’t hold a 4-3 lead late in regulation when Sidney Crosby scored, but made up for it when Steckel went to the net immediately after winning a faceoff. Laich wristed the puck on net from the right circle and Steckel put it past Marc-Andre Fleury 6:22 into the overtime.
Instead, Game 7 will be Wednesday night in Washington.