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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Western Series Go to Wire

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks all faced elimination and all three rose to the occasion to force seventh and deciding games in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

In the closest call Wednesday night, Randy Wood scored his second goal of the game 10 minutes into sudden-death overtime to lift Toronto to a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, knotting that National Hockey League series at three games each.

Mats Sundin, who assisted on Wood's second-period powerplay goal, also set up the game winner.

The speedy Sundin stormed down the right wing and brought Chicago goalie Ed Belfour to his knees as the Swede charged the net with a pair of Hawks in pursuit.

Sundin chose to skate behind the net, but his wraparound stuff attempt hit the left goal post and the puck bounced out to Wood.

The Blackhawks had roared back from a 4-1 deficit to force overtime. Game seven is set for Chicago on Friday.

Blues 8, Canucks 2. There was no such drama in Vancouver, where the Canucks had a chance to win their series with St. Louis at home, but failed badly.

Esa Tikkanen had two goals ands two assists and Brett Hull added two goals and an assist as the Blues embarrassed the Canucks to send the series back to St. Louis.

Hull scored twice in the first period as the Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

Sharks 5, Flames 3. In San Jose, California, Craig Janney scored two unassisted goals during a three-goal second period as the upstart Sharks forced a decisive game in Calgary, Alberta, Friday.

San Jose, last season's Cinderalla team, is now in position to upset this year's Pacific Division champion.

The Sharks got a boost from reserve goaltender Wade Flaherty, who made 31 saves in his first career playoff start, after Arturs Irbe took three straight losses.

The Flames took a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals by German Titov and Sheldon Kennedy. But Janney and Jeff Odgers gave San Jose a 4-2 lead in the second. Ray Whitney beat Trevor Kidd in the third period to give the Sharks a 5-2 edge with assists from former Soviet stars Sergei Makarov and Igor Larionov.

Paul Kruse completed the scoring for the Flames with Calgary's record sixth short-handed goal of the series.


Hector "Toe" Blake, who coached the Montreal Canadiens to a record eight Stanley Cups between 1955-1968, died of Alheimer's in Montreal on Wednesday. at 82 As a player, Blake, won the scoring title and most valuable player award in 1939.

(Reuters, AP)