The Anaheim Ducks did a far better job than Chicago when it came to getting the puck to the net in the second period of Game 7, but just one of those attempts beat netminder Corey Crawford. Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen is not having nearly as good of a game.
With Anaheim already down 3-0 late in the second period, Marian Hossa got another one by him, but this time the marker was controversial because it clearly went off of the Blackhawks forward’s skate. The only question is if it was a distinct kicking motion and after a review, the NHL ruled that it wasn’t.
You can judge it for yourself below:
Of course, this call would attract far more debate if Chicago didn’t already have a sizable lead and if Anaheim stages a comeback that comes up just short, then that will amplify the spotlight on this goal. Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that very little has gone the Ducks’ way tonight and they are now in danger of seeing their tremendous effort in the Western Conference Final end with a whimper.
The last thing Anaheim wanted to do is draw comparisons to Game 7 against Los Angeles last year when the Ducks, in the words of coach Bruce Boudreau, were “nervous Nellies” and ultimately lost 6-2.
Nevertheless, Anaheim has found itself in a similar position in the deciding contest of the Western Conference Final, but this time it was largely due to the efforts of Jonathan Toews. After the Blackhawks captain got Chicago on the board early, he followed it up with a top-shelf, power-play marker midway through the frame:
As long as we’re talking about the Kings though, Chicago had a 2-0 lead against Los Angeles in Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Final and ultimately lost that game. Obviously Chicago has had a lot of key games go its way as well in recent years, but one thing remains true: Two goal leads aren’t safe.
Anaheim is down, but not out yet.
The team that scores first has won 73.8% of Game 7s in the NHL. Jonathan Toews wasted no time putting Chicago on the right side of history.
The Blackhawks captain parked himself in front of Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen and was quick to capitalize on a rebound opportunity from Niklas Hjalmarsson’s shot as you can see below:
Not that its out of the ordinary for him, but Toews has been very effective in this series. He came into tonight’s action with three goals and five points in the 2015 Western Conference Final. That includes his two late markers in Game 5, which dramatically forced overtime in what was ultimately still a missed opportunity for Chicago.
Patrick Kane also assisted on the goal, giving him 109 playoff points in 110 career games.
Predators GM David Poile took a chance when he signed Mike Ribeiro to a one-year deal after the Arizona Coyotes bought him out and that worked out nicely for Nashville. Now he’s among the Predators’ top priorities ahead of the start of the free agent period on July 1.
“(Mike) Fisher and Ribeiro are two guys we really want to get under contract soon,” Poile said, per NHL.com.
Poile had previously made his intentions clear with regard to Fisher. For the record, Fisher has expressed optimism about his chances of re-signing with Nashville while Ribeiro has also said that he’d like to return.
He likely won’t come cheap though. Under his cap friendly $1.05 million deal for 2014-15, Ribeiro had 15 goals and 62 points in 82 contests. He often played alongside rookie standout Filip Forsberg.
Poile also said that Nashville probably won’t re-sign Cody Franson or Mike Santorelli. He acquired both of them from Toronto in February as part of a deal that involved the Predators surrendering their 2015 first round pick.
After prepping for three years, Franson excited to test free agency
Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning secured their spot in the Stanley Cup Final by earning a 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers. By the end of the night we’ll know who their adversary is. Between the Blackhawks and Ducks, Chicago has a clear edge in playoff experience and that might prove to be the difference tonight, but Anaheim has shown during the Western Conference Final that it’s more than capable of competing at this level.
If Chicago’s edge is experience though, then Anaheim’s advantage is the contest’s location. Historically the home team has a 94-66 record in Game 7s and has gone 3-1 this year, per the NHL’s Communications Department. The first goal is important too as 73.8% of Game 7s are won by the team that takes a 1-0 lead.
Tonight’s contest will air on NBC, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to stream the game, you can do so via NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking on the link below:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
There will also be pregame coverage on NBCSN beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET and you can go back there after the contest for the postgame. You can watch the Live Extra stream of that by using the link below (you will automatically be taken to the game stream once it starts):
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
In the meantime, here’s some pregame reading material:
Ducks juggle lines ahead of Game 7
The ‘freak’ Duncan Keith is having ‘a heck of a playoff’
The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s
Chicago’s Sharp on Game 7 confidence (and Mario Kart)
Boudreau: Ducks were ‘nervous Nellies’ in last year’s Game 7 versus Kings