It almost didn't happen that way...
Defenceman Sami Salo scored with 1:13 left in the third period to break a 3-3 tie as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 Thursday in the opening game of their NHL Western Conference semifinal series.
Salo took the rebound of a Steve Bernier shot and lifted it past Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, bringing a huge roar from a towel-waving, sellout crowd of 18,630 at GM Place.
Ryan Johnson scored into an empty net for Vancouver.
Pavol Demitra, Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin scored the other Vancouver goals.
The Canucks looked to have the game wrapped up before the Blackhawks erased a 3-0 deficit with three third-period goals.
Dave Bolland tied the match at 14:31 after Patrick Kane had scored twice.
Kane started the comeback when he beat Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo with a quick wrist shot from the slot at 1:01 of the third.
He made the score 3-2 on a power play at 10:11. Brent Seabrook blasted a shot from the point that Luongo stopped, but Kane collected the rebound and fired it into the net.
Bolland made it 3-3 when a point shot from Duncan Keith hit him on the back of the leg. He took the puck and beat Luongo.
While Salo was the hero, Vancouver forward Kyle Wellwood did much of the dirty work.
Wellwood, the free-agent signing who was criticized and demoted to the minors after arriving at training camp out of shape, collected two assists. The former Toronto Maple Leaf also drew a pair of double minors for high sticking and a tripping penalty that led to Demitra's first-period power-play goal.
Here's how Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson saw the game-winner on CBC