Some consider Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen a “question mark” as the team finally tries to make good on regular-season dominance. In Game 1 of the 2015 Western Conference Final, Andersen was instead the difference-maker.
Chicago carried the play for the first two periods on Sunday, generating a 25-15 shot advantage through the first 40 minutes of the contest.
Andersen was on top of the action, making 32 saves and only allowing a Brad Richards goal off a turnover all night.
He made some big saves, including this sensational stick stop on Patrick Kane:
Anaheim took a 2-1 lead into the final frame, and people made mention of how great the Ducks are at closing out games:
That certainly held true on Sunday (you can bump that playoff stat to 4-1 now), as the Ducks survived two straight penalty calls, generated a 12-8 shot edge and scored two tallies to end any threat of a Blackhawks comeback.
It’s getting tougher and tougher to doubt the Ducks as genuine contenders, as they now have a 1-0 series lead and a 9-1 record in this postseason.
They also proved that they can beat Chicago at the Duck Pond:
The Blackhawks have to be frustrated to see some dominant play go to waste, although the biggest headache might be their defensive imbalance. Michal Rozsival’s absence is being felt, as David Rundblad had a rough game and Kimmo Timonen barely played (5:15 TOI).
Still, just about every team sees some flaws in the salary cap era. It’s just one game, and the Blackhawks have been through just about everything over the last several years.