Final Score: Ducks 4, Blackhawks 5 (2OT)
First Period Recap:
The first period was a disaster, even worse than that of Game 1 because the Ducks didn't luck into a lead after 20 minutes this time. As you can see by the chart above, the Hawks completely and utterly dominated the first half of the period, but Frederik Andersen held the fort. Corey Perry showed the first sign of life for the Ducks nearly midway through the period, sneaking up on Niklas Hjalmarsson as he tried to exit the zone and stealing the puck right off his stick, Perry's backhand shot from the slot was off of Corey Crawford's shoulder though. Later on that shift Patrick Maroon and Patrick Sharp were bothcalled for penalties, Maroon for touching Sharp's back and Sharp for a retaliatory slash to the ankle. Seriously, no idea why Maroon was penalized there, other than indecisive reffing. Regardless it was 4-on-4 hockey for two minutes, but nothing came of it.
A minute and a half later Jakob Silfverberg reached his hand out and touched Jonathan Toews for a holding penalty. The ensuing Chicago power play was four times more effective than all five of their PPs in Game 3 combined (in terms of shots on goal), but they were still unable to break through.
With about two and a half minutes remaining, Bryan Bickell and Brad Richards played a give and go, into the Ducks zone to get Richards all alone in front of Andersen. He settled the puck down, got it to his forehand as he faded away from the net and shot it back across the grain, but Andersen made the stop with his right foot.
Just after that, it looked like the Ducks would escape the period unscathed as Brent Seabrook was called for slashing Ryan Kesler in the back with only 2:20 left. HOWEVER, the Ducks power play was disgustingly awful and just as unlucky. They were completely unable to gain the line without dumping the puck in and it was immediately shot right back out almost every time. After one of those dump ins, Brandon Saad won a battle on the boards for the puck and proceeded to carry out of the zone. He was able to exit in full control because Francois Beauchemin was tripped by the referee at the blueline and Saad went in on a partial breakaway. Kesler got back to pressure him, but could only take a diving swipe at the puck that Saad shook off before depositing the puck over Andersen's blocker with 46 seconds left. 1-0 Hawks.
So Chicago ended the first with a lead they deserved, on a play they didn't.
Second Period Recap:
The second was dramatically better for the Ducks, but that doesn't mean Chicago didn't have chances. Three minutes into the period, Marian Hossa had a glorious opportunity, dragging the puck from the corner to the slot, but Freddy got a skate to it while Kesler and Saad knocked the net off. About three minutes after that, Brent Seabrook hit the post with a point shot, low to Andersen's left after it deflected off of Matt Beleskey along the way.
Just past the halfway point of regulation, Perry and Marcus Kruger went for a tussle off of a faceoff but Perry was the only one that was sent to the box. It was a decent power play from Chicago, but neutralized by some equally good penalty killing by the Ducks.
A couple minutes later the Ducks got their first power play of the game when Toews was called for high sticking Kesler in front of the net. It wasn't your run of the mill bang, bang high stick, Toews' stick got up and almost rested on Kesler's neck, but their hands got tangled up and nearly pulled Kesler down by the neck. The Ducks power play was dangerous for the majority of the two minutes with plenty of zone time, but couldn't crack Crawford. The best chance was a point shot by Hampus Lindholm through the screen of Kesler, that hit Crawford and Beleskey hopped on the rebound, but Crawford did well to square up and give him nothing to shoot at.
The Ducks kept the pressure up after the kill and eventually it paid off. Beauchemin kept in a clearing attempt by Hjalmarsson and fed it to Kyle Palmieri in the middle of the ice with all kinds of space. Palmieri shot it as Emerson Etem crossed Crawford's field of vision and the puck deflected in off of the Long Beach native's ass with just 1:46 left in the period. 1-1 Tie.
Third Period Recap:
Chicago responded with Toews potting his first goal of the series. Duncan Keith made a really nice play to hold the zone on a Beauch clearing attempt and in one spinning motion got it down the boards to Saad who kicked it to Hossa in the middle with the instep of his skate. Hossa's shot was blocked by Lindholm but the rebound came right back to him and he laid a cross crease pass to Toews who out waited Andersen to regain the lead for Chicago. Beautiful play all around by the top line of the Blackhawks, even if it was tough luck on the bounce off of Lindholm. 2-1 Hawks.
Five minutes later the Chicago top line was all over the Ducks' zone again. Saad went for a wrap around that got cut off by a poke check from Nate Thompson, but the puck was teed right up for Seabrook to one time high stick side on Andersen, and it was looking bleak for the Ducks. 3-1 Hawks.
But then 37 seconds changed everything....
8:42 into the period, Jakob Silfverberg fed Kesler right at the top of the crease with a pass right in his wheelhouse. The puck found its way between the blocker arm and body of Crawford. Back in it. 3-2 Hawks.
9:05 of the third, Rickard Rakell carried into the zone but had it poked off his stick in the high slot, then Beleskey poked it away from Antoine Vermette as he tried to exit the zone. Bels regained the puck and used Kimo Timmonen (in one of his rare shifts) as a screen, shooting back against the grain, high blocker. Perfect shot. 3-3 Tie.
At this point, Joel Quenneville called his timeout to settle things down, but it didn't work.
9:19 in, Ducks won the faceoff and got it deep. Perry poked it back for Maroon, he bumped Hjalmarsson and tied up Andrew Shaw's stick so that it would go free to Ryan Getzlaf up the boards. Getz shoveled a backhander toward the net, where Perry had set up, Crawford made the save with his left pad, but Perry tapped the rebound around him. 4-3 Ducks. UN-F***ING-BELIEVABLE! It went down as the second fastest set of three goals by one team in Stanley Cup Playoff History, behind only the 1979 Toronto Maple Leafs who scored three in 23 seconds.
But it wasn't enough. Three minutes later, Silfverberg was called for his second holding penalty of the game, and this one was just about as ticky-tack as it gets, where he put the slightest of tuggs on Kyle Cumiskey's jersey, but it cost the Ducks. It only took Patrick Kane 16 seconds to capitalize on this one. Kane got the puck at the half wall, sent a diagonal pass to Richards at the point and went to the side of the net. Richards took a couple steps in and zipped a shot pass to Kane to Andersen's right, he deflected it toward the five hole, off the inside of Freddy's left pad and it trickled across the line. 4-4 Tie.
While they were still announcing the goal the Ducks came thisclose to regaining the lead. Getzlaf found Perry open in the slot. Crawford took Perry's shot off of the shoulder and almost covered it, but Maroon was there to poke it through his legs just before the glove could get over it Unfortunately, Hjalmarsson swiped it out of the crease before it could get across the line. And after all of that insanity it was off to Overtime again.
First Overtime Recap:
The Ducks were the better team throughout the first extra session. At one point, roughly halfway through the overtime, Anaheim had outshot Chicago 10-0. During that time, the Ducks had two close calls. One on a Kyle Palmieri redirect of an Andrew Cogliano shot that caught Crawford in the shoulder. The other was a flukish play where Beauch shot the puck on net, rather than dumping it in and it got caught in Crawford's equipment, but he didn't know it. As he retreated the puck fell down, Palmieri was there to take a poke at it, but jammed it off the post.
Right before the midway point of the period, Andrew Shaw had two chances right in front of Freddy. The point shot from Johnny Oduya deflected off of the inside of Andrew Desjardins' leg and to Shaw in front, he turned and shot it in one motion, but Freddy closed the fivehole. The second was the rebound, but it never would have counted, because Shaw, an apparent Everton wannabe, deliberately and obviously kicked it toward the net. Before the puck got to him the first time, however, Sami Vatanen was caught called for hooking Shaw in front (another weak penalty, but this time one in OT is more egregious).
The power play produced, even better chances for the Hawks. Andersen made a pad save on a point shot from Keith, and Shaw was right there to jump on the rebound, but his shot went off the crossbar. Toews was there to tap it in, as it bounced back out the front of the crease but his stick was tied up by the great defense of Lindholm.
I hesitated to say that either of those were the best chance of the first overtime, because Patrick Sharp went in on a breakaway with about four minutes left. Teuvo Teravainen caught the Ducks on a change and threw the puck up to Sharp at the Anaheim blue line, he tried to just slip it forward under Andersen's pad and there seemed like there was room as he was backing up, but Freddy got the pad down, just in time and covered up.
As stated above, the Ducks had the volume, out shooting the Hawks 17-5 in the first OT, but Chicago had the best chances. Either way it was still 4-4 after 80 minutes so, on to a second OT.
Second Overtime Recap:
The Ducks also started the second OT well, getting the first four shots on goal. Perry had a heck of a shift, causing havoc in front of Crawford, but it was not to be. Five minutes and 37 seconds in, Vermette ended it. Sharp, from behind the net threw a backhand pass up the middle of the slot for Vermette, his first shot was blocked by Rakell, but the rebound came right back to him and Freddy was pulled way out of the crease attempting to get in position for the first shot, so Vermette had an empty net to shoot at, and put it in from a sharp angle. 5-4 Hawks. Series tied 2-2.
The Good: How can it not be the three goals in 37 seconds that got the Ducks back in the game, at it's darkest point? Just when we think they're out, they pull themselves back in. Crazy.
The Bad: That first power play, shorthanded goal and referee trip aside, was awful. Clearly, the Ducks aren't getting many calls (partially because of the refs and partially because Chicago doesn't put themselves in many positions to take penalties) so when you do get one, you have to be much better than that.
The Ugly: The Big Boys for Chicago lit it up. You can only hope to contain the star power of the Blackhawks for so long. I talked about it in the Game 3 recap and it completely came true in this game. Toews, Hossa and Saad combined for six points on the first three goals, Kane forced overtime with his second of the series, while Seabrook and Keith had a goal and an assist respectively. The longer the series goes, with the Ducks allowing the Hawks to take shots and trying to block their way to wins, the more likely the big guns will find a way to come through as they did in this game.
3rd Icehole: Andrew Shaw - I already gave accolades to the big guns, don't want to ref blame (too much), and even though he didn't end up with any points on the night, he took years off of all our lives with some of his chances in the first OT (as he did in Game 2).
2nd Icehole: Antoine Vermette - Scoring the double overtime winner, Hell of a way to bounce back from being healthy scratched in Game 3, eh?
1st Icehole: Brandon Saad - A goal and two assists would be enough, not to mention the goal was shorthanded and one of his assists was a Premier League worthy kick to the middle of the ice for Hossa. Chicago's top line was on fire tonight and much of it came off the stick (and skates) of Sadd.
Next Game: Game 5, Monday, May 25 6:00 PM PDT @ Honda Center