Antoine Vermette admitted he wasn’t happy with being a healthy scratch for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3. Back in the lineup on Saturday, he played the role of hero in Game 4.
Vermette scored the winner at 5:37 of the second overtime, pushing the Blackhawks to a 5-4 victory in a thriller against the Anaheim Ducks that evens the Western Conference Final at two games apiece.
Head coach Joel Quenneville explained that his decision to remove Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen on Thursday was to get some “fresh legs” in the lineup.
Back on the ice Saturday, Teravainen contributed an assist on the winner in 18:07 of ice time. But Vermette came through with a huge goal for the Blackhawks, and his second of the post-season, ensuring this series goes a minimum of six games.
It also capped off a thoroughly entertaining game that saw six goals scored in 10 minutes in the third period.
The two teams entered the third period tied 1-1. Jonathan Toews, with his first of the series, and Brent Seabrook scored to give Chicago a two-goal lead on home ice. But the Ducks, masters of third-period comebacks in these playoffs, scored three times in 37 seconds to take back the lead in stunning fashion.
Patrick Kane scored on a power play, which had been an area the Blackhawks had struggled in during this series, jamming the puck by Frederik Andersen to eventually send this game to overtime.
The Chicago Blackhawks were outshot 17-5 in the first overtime in Game 4, but had two golden chances to win it and even the Western Conference Final with the Anaheim Ducks at two games apiece.
The first came on a scramble in the Anaheim crease, as Andrew Shaw hit the cross bar on a rebound opportunity to the right of Frederik Andersen. Credit Hampus Lindholm for immediately clearing the puck out of harm’s way, with Jonathan Toews looking at an open net.
And then there was Patrick Sharp, on a breakaway late in the extra period. Sent in all alone, he was unable to beat Andersen on the glove side.
What a third period between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4.
The Ducks scored three goals in 37 seconds to take the lead from the Blackhawks, who had previously jumped out to a two-goal lead of their own on goals from Jonathan Toews, his first of this series, and Brent Seabrook.
But suddenly, the Ducks came back in stunning fashion. First, it was Ryan Kesler to get Anaheim back within a goal. Matt Beleskey tied it up and Corey Perry gave the Ducks the lead.
Now, the Blackhawks came back with a power play goal from Patrick Kane to tie the game at 4-4. That’s six goals in 10 minutes, one second.
Corey Perry certainly isn’t doing anything to endear himself to the Chicago Blackhawks, including goalie Corey Crawford.
What else would you expect?
In the first period of Game 4, Perry grabbed Chicago defenseman Kimmo Timonen and sent him into Crawford after he covered the puck, stopping play.
Perry has been pestering Crawford throughout the series, as the Ducks have tried to make life miserable for the Chicago puck stopper. Following Game 3, Crawford came out and said he was getting bumped. “It wasn’t enough to get called, but it was enough on that one (to be) a little distraction,” he said.
Brandon Saad opened the scoring for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4, burying his shot top corner on a short-handed breakaway late in the first period.
Saad was able to get away through the neutral zone, after Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin got tangled up with referee Chris Rooney at the Chicago blue line. Still, Saad was also able to get by Ryan Kesler, known for his excellent skating ability, on his way to the net.