Hawks-Canucks series gets contentious

Both sides claim it’s the playoffs and borderline physical play is expected, but that doesn’t mean the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks like each other.

As their third consecutive playoff series goes deeper, the level of contentiousness has increased. One sequence resulted in a mini-melee at the end of the second period in Game 5.

Canucks defenseman Alex Edler was carrying the puck behind his own net with Hawks forward Troy Brouwer bearing down. Edler got his arms up in an attempt to hold Brouwer off but nailed him in the face.

“He clipped me in the chin,” Brouwer said Saturday. “I was unhappy about it but that’s playoff hockey.”

Brouwer thought he got hit with an elbow.

“I didn’t try anything with an elbow,” Edler responded. “I saw he was coming and I tried to cut him off at the net there a little bit. It was nothing else.”

Brouwer actually got a penalty on the play, for slashing, and then the small melee ensued with all the players on the ice. Edler wasn’t punished.

“I had a quick chat with the ref behind me and his angle was blocked by my body,” Brouwer explained. “It’s tough to see. He called a slash. He can see sticks but not elbows I guess.”

Edler reiterated it’s the playoffs and both teams are trying for an edge. He also agreed with the referees call.

“He slashed off my stick,” he said.

The Canucks lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is Sunday at the United Center.