Bieksa, Luongo, Toews earn Three Stars
After scoring just three goals on the season, Bieksa was probably the last guy anyone expected to lead the Canucks to victory in a must-win Game 5. But that's exactly what the veteran defender did, scoring Vancouver's second and third goals and assisting on their first in a convincing 4-1 win over the Blackhawks on Sunday night. Even without that offensive outburst, Bieksa might still have earned a spot on the list for his contribution on the back end, where he absorbed more than 27 minutes of ice time to help the Canucks compensate for playing part of the game with just four blueliners.
Expect a run of razors before Tuesday in Vancouver. After giving up 11 goals in the previous two games, Luongo shaved off his playoff beard ... and finally looked like a playoff goaltender. Not that he was magnificent -- the steady play of his backliners relieved him of that responsibility -- but he was confident and capable, stopping 29 of 30 shots and giving his teammates something they haven't had from him since Game 1: a chance to win.
It'd be easy to overlook his efforts in a 4-1 loss, but entirely unfair. Toews was the best forward on the ice all night, creating chances in the offensive zone and providing his typically diligent game on the back end. His late-third period goal that snapped Luongo's shutout bid was a marvel of hand-eye coordination as he managed to deflect