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.
The Anaheim Ducks did a bit of line juggling during the team’s morning skate at the Honda Center on Saturday.
After sitting out Game 6, it appears Tomas Fleischmann will enter the Ducks’ lineup tonight in place of Emerson Etem. The 31-year-old practiced on the team’s fourth line with Kyle Palmieri and Rickard Rakell.
Ducks’ coach Bruce Boudreau has a history with Fleischmann, which dates back to when the two were with the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals.
“There’s a real good chance that he’s in,” said Boudreau. “I just think an experienced guy, he’s been through these wars, he’s played in Game 7s, he’s been in championship games.
“When I was with Hershey, it was a while ago, but he was the MVP in the playoffs. So he knows what to do in these situations.”
Fleischmann played 10:19 in Game 5 after sitting out four games as a healthy scratch.
In five playoff games this spring, Fleischmann has one assist.
With Palmieri on the fourth line, Jiri Sekac moves up to the Ducks’ third line along side Nate Thompson and Andrew Cogliano. Sekac has a plus-1 rating and two penalty minutes while averaging 11:14 in ice time in six games this spring.
Puck drop tonight is at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Though he wouldn’t commit to anything, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau is contemplaing mixing up his bottom-six forward group for tomorrow’s Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against Chicago.
Right winger Kyle Palmieri — who has spent most of this series on a line with Andrew Cogliano and Nate Thompson — was replaced by Jiri Sekac on the third line, moving Palmieri onto the fourth with Rickard Rakell and Tomas Fleischmann. Fleischmann had taken the place of Emerson Etem on the bottom line, which has happened on a few occasions this postseason (including Game 5 of this series).
The moves were a chemistry test, according to Boudreau, who suggested he might use these new units as Anaheim looks to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in eight years.
“I wanted to see it in practice today,” Boudreau said, per NHL.com. “We tried that a little bit. I wanted to make sure that if that’s the route we’re going to go, then I wanted to see if they at least had sort of some good chemistry together. We talked about it and we’ll talk about it again [Saturday] morning.
“By no means are those set in stone, those lines today.”