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Hawks tie Canucks; Caps win opener

THE Chicago Blackhawks scored five consecutive goals to rally past the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 on Saturday, tying up their NHL Western Conference semifinal series at 1-1.

Patrick Sharp brought the visiting Blackhawks back from a 0-2 deficit with two successive second-period tallies and they added three more goals before Vancouver found the net again. An empty-netter by the Blackhawks sealed the win.

In the East, the Washington Capitals opened their eagerly anticipated best-of-seven series with a 3-2 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In Vancouver, two goals by Sharp in a three-minute period and a short-handed goal by Dave Bolland gave Chicago new confidence.

"People talk about us being young and inexperienced and I think that may be exactly it," Blackhawks forward Adam Burish, who had two assists, told reporters. "We're too naive or we're too dumb or we're too green to know that we're in a bad position."

The Canucks, as they had in Game 1, seized the early momentum on powerplay goals by Sami Salo and Alexander Elder in the first period.

Fought back

Again, Chicago fought back. This time the visitors, who had tied Thursday's game at 3-3 before losing 3-5, did not let up until they had a 5-2 advantage.

Ben Eager and Patrick Kane scored in the first six minutes of the third and after Henrik Sedin provided a powerplay score for Vancouver, Bolland added the empty-netter with 1:10 to play for his second.

In Washington, Tomas Fleischmann scored less than two minutes into the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and help the Capitals win their fourth successive playoff game.

Washington's rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov stopped 34 shots, including a spectacular save from a second-period effort by Sidney Crosby with the score 2-2.

"It was obviously a turning point because they would have had the lead and we would have had to play catch up," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Crosby tallied on a wrist shot for the Penguins four minutes into the game but David Steckel and Alex Ovechkin countered for Washington before the period was out.

Mark Eaton fired a slapshot past Varlamov in the second to make it 2-2 and set the stage for Fleischmann's winner.


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