The Anaheim Ducks now find themselves in a position to put the Chicago Blackhawks on the ropes. Thanks to a Game 3 victory in Chicago on Thursday, the Ducks now lead the Western Conference Final 2-1 after bouncing back from a triple overtime loss on Tuesday.
Anaheim successfully killed off five Chicago power plays, including a four-minute advantage in the first period. Frederik Andersen made 27 saves. And the Ducks got the winning goal from Simon Despres, who had never scored before in the post-season.
Afterward, defenseman Cam Fowler lauded the Ducks’ “resiliency” in the win.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters during his post-game press conference that this was a “character win.”
Patrick Kane had the puck on his stick, only seconds left in regulation, with a chance to send Game 3 to overtime. He missed, just barely, his shot sliding off the outside of the post.
And from there, the Anaheim Ducks were able to hold off the Chicago Blackhawks to take Thursday’s game by a final score of 2-1, which now also happens to be Anaheim’s lead in this Western Conference Final.
Sorry, no marathon overtime.
Simon Despres had never scored a Stanley Cup playoff goal before Thursday. His slap shot blast that beat Corey Crawford in the final minute of the second period stood as the winner. Talk about perfect timing.
The Blackhawks had their chances, but couldn’t take advantage.
They had five power play opportunities and were unsuccessful with each and every one of them. They are now 2-for-13 in the series. Their only goals with the advantage were in Game 2.
Chicago’s top players are also struggling to produce offensively so far in this series.
Kane did score late in the opening period for his first goal and point of this series. Jonathan Toews has only one point — an assist in Game 2. Marian Hossa has only one point. Patrick Sharp doesn’t have a point in four games.
It’s something to keep an eye on for Game 4 on Saturday.
Simon Despres isn’t known for his scoring. But his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal is an important one for the Anaheim Ducks.
Despres blasted a one-time shot past a helpless Corey Crawford to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead in the final minute of the second period of Game 3, with the Western Conference Final tied at 1-1.
This was quite a sudden sequence of events.
Corey Perry had his stick broken blocking a shot in the defensive zone, but as the play immediately transitioned up the ice, the Anaheim Ducks winger sped to the bench, grabbed a new stick from a teammate and joined back in the rush for a scoring chance.
Credit his teammates with being alert at the bench. It all happened quickly, with about six seconds in between Perry’s stick breaking at the Anaheim blue line to Corey Crawford’s save on Perry.
Patrick Maroon scored only nine goals in the regular season for the Anaheim Ducks. He is now credited with five in these playoffs, his latest opening the scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday.
Maroon’s deflection goal — Corey Perry was also in front, screening Corey Crawford — gave the visiting Ducks a 1-0 lead, briefly silencing the Chicago crowd.
With less than a minute remaining in the first period, Patrick Kane responded for the Blackhawks, deploying that always dangerous backhand shot of his.
‘Showtime’ struck again, this time beating Frederik Andersen to tie the game at one goal apiece.
For Kane, that counts as his first goal and point of this series.