Final Score: Ducks 2, Blackhawks 1
First Period Recap:
The first five minutes of the game were pretty evenly played. The Ducks' best early chance was off a Brent Seabrook turnover right to Ryan Kesler at the blueline. Kesler skated right up the middle but he missed his low blocker shot wide as the puck was rolling on him. Chicago's best chance also didn't end up with a shot on goal. Marcus Kruger lifted the stick of Hampus Lindholm as he tried to carry out of the zone and moved it on to Patrick Kane, who had nobody in front of him but Frederik Andersen. However, as Kane carried it in closer to the net, Corey Perry dove to poke the puck off of his stick.
Then a flood of penalties came. First, it was Perry off for tripping Johnny Oduya, in the neutral zone almost immediately after the Kane chance. Very good kill by the Ducks, including a couple rushes up ice shorthanded and no shots on goal for the Blackhawks. As the penalty expired Jakob Silfverberg and Kesler went on a 2-on-1 that got Kesler in behind the D, but the shot wasn't a problem for Crawford. A shift or two later, Niklas Hjalmarsson nailed the post with a shot.
About three minutes after the first kill, the Ducks were back shorthanded with Kesler going off for holding Jonathan Toews in front of Andersen's crease. This kill was even better, not letting the Hawks set up until Marian Hossa found some open ice in the middle of the zone, shot the puck wide and was sent off for putting a slight hold on Ryan Getzlaf. Nothing resulted from the ensuing 4-on-4 but it only took 27 seconds for the Ducks to score on their only shot once they got the power play. Hampus Lindholm wristed a shot from the point that Patrick Maroon got a piece of and Perry was also screening Crawford to give the Ducks the lead. 1-0 Ducks.
About 40 seconds after the goal, the Ducks were back on the kill when Silfverberg's stick got wedged in under Toews' visor and apparently cut Captain Serious for a high sticking double minor. The Ducks killed both penalties expertly, and the Hawks didn't get anything of real danger against Andersen for the full four minutes. Just as it expired though, Kane shanked a shot from Freddy's left that hit Toews in the crease and caused a mad scramble, but was eventually covered.
The Ducks couldn't quite escape the period with the lead though as Kane evened it up with just 57 seconds left. Brad Richards threw a pass into Kane's feet as they rushed up the ice that he couldn't handle. Unfortunately, both Matt Beleseky and Rickard Rakell went to gather the puck, got tangled up with each other and both left the puck for Kane to pick up in the slot. He controlled, spun and shot a backhander all in one motion that snuck between the blocker arm and body of Andersen. 1-1 Tie.
Despite all of the power play time for Chicago, the Ducks (barely) out shot the Hawks 8-7 through the first 20 minutes.
Second Period Recap:
The first couple of minutes of the middle frame were pretty much dominated by the Ducks in terms of zone time and shot attempts. Anaheim put eight shots on goal (to Chicago's one) in the first 3:06 of the period. It may have even been better, had it not been for the referee blowing the whistle for no apparent reason after a Lindholm point shot that Crawford blockered to the boards. Chicago's first chance of the period resulted from a turnover along the boards that Andrew Desjardins shot high off the shoulder of Freddy Andersen about four minutes in.
Roughly six minutes into the period, the Ducks had a shift that looked almost like a power play, but all of their shots ended up high/wide, most notably ones from Kyle Palmieri and Matt Beleskey with time and space in the slot. Lindholm made an outstanding defensive play after getting caught somewhat flatfooted at the blueline by Hossa, refusing to let Hossa bull past/around him and then poking the puck away and out of the zone.
Just shy of the midway point of the game, Kris Versteeg softly dumped the puck into the Ducks zone, and Francois Beauchemin had his stick lifted by Toews as he tried to casually clear. Toews went in one-on-one with Andersen, tried to out wait him, dragging it across the slot but Freddy was clam, cool and collected as ever to make the save with the right pad.
On the other side of the TV timeout, Emerson Etem was set up with half a net to shoot at by Jiri Sekac. It took him a fraction of a second too long to settle it down before shooting and hit the side of the net while Crawford was flailing back into position.
With 7:10 left in the period, Beauch stepped up on Kane as he carried the puck into the Ducks' zone, but the former Conn Smythe winner used that attention and dished it off to Andrew Shaw for a two-on-one. Shaw got the pass across to Versteeg, past a sprawling Lindholm, but he had to kick it from skate to stick, allowing Andersen time to get across for another beautiful leg pad save.
Around the last five minutes, the Hawks put on a big surge to overtake the Ducks in even strength shot attempts, and nearly equaling their shots on goal. Then one of the coolest moments of the game happened when Perry broke his stick, blocking a shot into the neutral zone. Maroon picked up the loose puck and passed it back to Perry as the 2011 Hart Trophy winner grabbed a stick off the bench and speeded in on net. Perry's shot hit Crawford right in the crest, but it was a hell of a play on the fly.
Off the ensuing faceoff, the Ducks regained possession with Simon Despres pinching down the wall and Getzlaf covering his right point. Getzlaf moved it to Fowler on the left, then back to Getzlaf and down to Despres for a one timer from just outside the right faceoff dot. All the while, Perry and Maroon were causing havoc in front of Crawford and he couldn't get over in time to stop Despres' shot. 2-1 Ducks.
Third Period Recap:
The first five minutes of the last period were, more or less, a continuation of the final five minutes of the second, with Chicago pouring it on, but not really able to get much through to Andersen. Just after the five minute mark Ryan Getzlaf was called for a high stick against Andrew Shaw,which never actually made contact with Shaw's face, but he sold it well. Just more reason for me to be glad that Clayton Stoner's boarding penalty at the beginning of Game 2 was against Kruger instead of someone who would have stayed down to draw a major like Shaw. It was another really good penalty kill for the Ducks, keeping the Hawks to the outside and clearing whenever they got the chance.
Right before the middle of the period Silfverberg went on a two-on-one and his shot was blockered aside, then the Ducks were forced to call their timeout after an icing. On the ensuing shift, Duncan Keith and Ryan Kesler went off for matching minors (holding against Kesler, and slashing against Keith) to produce some four-on-four play. Once the penalties expired, you would think Boudreau put out Leonardo, Rafael, Donatello and Michelangelo out on the ice, because it was Heroes on the Half Shell.
With exactly two minutes to go, the Ducks iced the puck and Joel Quenneville pulled Crawford for the extra attacker. The Ducks proceeded to ice the puck three more times in a row. On the fourth empty net shift, Perry broke his stick, getting away with a slash on Hossa, but was bailed out by a save and cover from Andersen. At that point, with 35 seconds left in the game, Coach Q called his timeout. The Ducks were able to clear, but there was time for one last chance. Kane tried to split the D through the slot with about seven seconds left and Despres made a diving/reaching play to rush his shot and just get his stick on Kane's to take the mustard off of it as well. The Ducks ate the puck in the corner to finish the game with a 2-1 win and a 2-1 series lead.
The Good: There is a lot to like about this game, but nothing more than the PERFECT special teams. One-for-one on the power play and five-for-five on the kill. Still the most impressive thing about it was that the Ducks only gave up ONE shot on goal while shorthanded for 9:18. Blocking four shots and Chicago missing three helped, but the star studded Chicago power play only managed to get one through to Freddy. Also, the Ducks only had one shot on the PP, but it was only in 27 seconds of extra man time and it went in.
The Bad: That dive by Andrew Shaw was pretty bad, but effective. Even worse though was Eddie Olczyck dancing around it. Even Pierre had a "Come on, dude" tone in his voice.
The Ugly: Jonathan Toews had a heck of a game possession wise. He ended up a +10 in 5v5 shot attempts, for comparison he was +3 in Game 1 and -2 in Game 2. Part of the reason is that he was able to get away from Ryan Kesler, even though he out-possessed Kesler head to head in both games one and two as well. In this game he didn't play more than 5:26 against any one player, in Game 1 he played 10:59 against Kesler (comparing Game 2 TOI isn't really fair because of the overtimes). He's been kept off the scoresheet so far, but if he continues to dominate possession (at least at home) that won't last for long. Patrick Kane's possession numbers weren't as extreme, but much better than any Duck in this game, and he got off the schneid with his first goal of the series. Remember what happened when Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg woke up late in the 2013 first round series....Just sayin'.
3rd MVD: Corey Perry - Didn't get a point, but made a couple of big defensive plays early on, played a big role in screening Corey Crawford on the first goal, and his awesome rush up ice, grabbing a stick from the bench play kind of set up the second goal, in addition to just generally kicking ass. Also he avoided being hurt in a "painful and permanent way," which is nice.
2nd MVD: Simon Despres - Top 5v5 possession player on the team (tied with his partner Cam on +3 SAT+/-), game winning goal, potential game saving dive/pressure/stick contact on Kane in the final seconds.
1st MVD: Penalty Kill - See "The Good," above.
Next Game: Game 4, Saturday May 23 5:00 PM PDT @ United Center