Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau mixed up Anaheim’s lines in the hopes of sparking the team and it did exactly that.
Defenseman Cam Fowler found the back of the net at 5:10 of the first period and then Ryan Kesler redirected a shot from Jakob Silfverberg to beat Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford again a mere 32 seconds later.
You can see both goals below:
That’s huge for Anaheim, which hasn’t entered the first intermission with the lead since Game 1 of the series. At the same time, the Ducks have to be painfully aware that Chicago can never be ruled out. After all, Anaheim netted three goals in the span of just 37 seconds in the third period of Game 4 to take a late one-goal lead, but Chicago still managed to win that contest in double overtime.
Chicago and Anaheim had two wins each going into tonight’s game.
After losing Game 4 in double overtime, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau admitted that he was considering lineup changes and sure enough Anaheim has a different look tonight.
Veteran forward Tomas Fleischmann has been inserted into the lineup while 22-year-old Emerson Etem is a healthy scratch, but that wasn’t the only alteration. Fleischmann started on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg. That’s in contrast to the pregame line rushes where Fleischmann was skating with Jiri Sekac and Rickard Rakell. The last minute switch might have been a deliberate attempt by Boudreau to throw off Chicago.
This is Fleischmann’s fifth appearance in the 2015 playoffs and his first game since May 10. The last time Boudreau used him, the 31-year-old forward only ended up logging 8:52 minutes, so it will be interesting to see if he concedes his top-six spot as the game goes on.
Etem has three goals in 11 contests, including a marker on Saturday.
Of all the pleasant surprising during the 2014-15 campaign, Mark Stone was one of the biggest. He tied for the rookie scoring title with 64 points, including 26 goals, in 80 games. If not for his efforts, Ottawa probably wouldn’t have been able to squeak into the playoffs.
His ability to help the Senators in their postseason series against Montreal was limited though by a microfracture in his right wrist he sustained from a slash by P.K. Subban in the second period of Game 1. Stone played through the injury, but needed to freeze his wrist before and sometimes again during each game.
“It was just frustrating not being able to feel parts of my wrist and parts of my fingers,” Stone told the Winnipeg Sun. “It definitely didn’t help my shot, but I was able to play through it.”
He still recorded four assists in the six-game series, but he was limited to nine shots on goal and didn’t find the back of the net.
The slash itself spark a controversy that intensified after Senators GM Bryan Murray claimed Subban had been threatening Stone, which is something the Montreal defenseman denied.
That all aside though, Stone can see the silver lining in Ottawa’s first round defeat.
“Going down 0-3, you don’t come out of that too often,” he said. “But we continued to push and everybody learned what it took to win a playoff series.”
The hope is that the Senators can apply that knowledge next season.
After spending the last three seasons in the KHL, Andrei Kostitsyn is hoping to take his services back to North America, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
Kostitsyn, 30, was taken by the Montreal Canadiens with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry and went on to record 99 goals and 210 points in 379 contests with the Canadiens. However, many fans probably remember him best for an off-ice incident during the 2012 playoffs.
After Nashville dealt a second and a fifth round pick to Montreal to acquire Kostitsyn, he reportedly broke curfew before Game 2 of the Predators’ second round series and was suspended as a result. He had 12 points in 19 regular season contests after the trade and another four points in eight playoff contests, but he ended up signing in the KHL that summer.
He recorded 13 goals and 35 points in 50 contests with Traktor Chelyabinsk and HC Sochi in 2014-15. With the campaign over, he’s believed to have entered into preliminary talks with unspecified NHL teams about a possible one-year deal.
Sochi players may wage legal battle to get paid
The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have engaged in a back-and-forth series that’s left each side with two wins. The last three games have been decided by just a goal and two of them have gone to at least double-overtime. So while Chicago was commonly viewed as the favorite going into this series, its fair to say that both squads have a real shot of reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
The stakes will increase again tonight though as one of these teams will be pushed to the brink of elimination. The contest will start at 9:00 p.m. ET, but you can tune in as early as 8:00 p.m. for pregame coverage. The game will air on NBCSN and can be streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra:
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Here are some relevant links:
In the playoffs, sometimes it comes down to the ‘bounces’
Boudreau, Ducks considering lineup changes ahead of Game 5
Blackhawks’ Bickell says wear-and-tear goes both ways
Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’
Toews didn’t want to show ‘any frustration’ after going without a goal before Game 4