The Anaheim Ducks led for 54:12 consecutive minutes tonight, but they just couldn’t keep Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews down forever.
With Chicago trailing by two goals and less than two minutes left in regulation time, Toews gave Chicago a glimmer of hope by rocking a one-timer set up by Marian Hossa:
The Blackhawks pulled goaltender Corey Crawford and with 37 seconds remaining, Toews once again found himself with the puck and flung it towards netminder Frederik Andersen from a bad angle. He needed luck to be on his side to cash in on that attempt and this time it was:
Those were Toews sixth and seventh goals of the 2015 playoffs. With the Western Conference Final tied at 2-2, this could be looked back on as the turning point for Chicago. Anaheim will do everything it can to make sure that’s not the case, but its lost two overtime games to the Blackhawks already.
Game 5 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks has been a contest of extremes. The Ducks had a big edge in the first period and their efforts were rewarded with a 3-0 lead.
If they though they could just bank the win after 20 minutes though, they were mistaken as Chicago rebounded in a big way in the second frame. Teuvo Teravainen set the tone of the period by getting Chicago on the board just 1:11 minutes into it. He later set up defenseman Brent Seabrook’s marker just before the second intermission:
Teravainen deserves a lot of credit for his work to create that turnover and for feeding the puck to Seabrook, but the Blackhawks’ defenseman wasn’t given much to work with by Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen and it’s remarkable that he was able to get it past the netminder under those circumstances.
Anaheim still has a one-goal lead, but it can’t afford another 20 minutes like that.
The Anaheim Ducks got off to a hot start tonight and that continued late in the first period when Sami Vatanen scored off of the faceoff:
Ryan Getzlaf assisted on that marker, which gives him 18 points in 14 contests. That’s put him in a tie for the Anaheim Ducks’ franchise record for playoff points in a single year with, well, himself. Getzlaf set the record in 2009 with 18 points in 13 contests, per the Ducks’ Twitter feed. He also recorded a team-leading 17 points in 2007 when Anaheim won the Cup.
With the Western Conference Final tied at 2-2, Game 5’s opening period was very one sided. Chicago managed just three shots on goal to Anaheim’s 11, although that was largely because the Blackhawks were missing the net entirely or having its shots blocked by Anaheim. In terms of shots attempted in 5-on-5 play, the frame was actually even as you can see per War on Ice:
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.