Canucks' defenseman Salo hit with puck

CHICAGO -- A season-saving victory for the Vancouver Canucks was tempered by the loss of defenseman Sami Salo, a key fixture in their top four.

Salo took a slap shot in the midsection at the buzzer when the first period ended, and had to be carried out on a stretcher to the hospital. The Canucks officially termed the injury "undisclosed."

"He's at the hospital right now getting evaluated and we'll know more later," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said after the game.

If Salo can't go in Game 6, it's a huge loss for a Canucks team not that deep on defense to begin with.

"He's so important to us offensively and defensively and a veteran presence," said Canucks blueliner Shane O'Brien. "I thought the boys did a pretty good job of taking advantage of the opportunity, more ice time. The more you play, the better you feel, but hopefully Sami baby is OK."

The Canucks fell to five defensemen for the final 40 minutes and did a good job in Salo's absence.

"We're a lot better team with Salo in the lineup," said blueliner Kevin Bieksa. "Injuries happen and the five of us did a good job of picking up the slack. Hopefully we'll have him back in the next game."

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.