2015 Western Conference Finals Game 3 Recap
By: Nick Lanciani
In front of a sold out United Center the Chicago Blackhawks lost 2-1 on Thursday night to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals. Simon Despres scored the game winning goal for Anaheim and Frederik Andersen made 27 saves on 28 shots to earn the win. Chicago’s, Corey Crawford, made 25 saves on 27 shots faced in the loss.
If anyone was still tired from Game 2, it didn’t show to start Game 3. Nearly thirteen minutes into the 1st period, Anaheim Ducks forward, Patrick Maroon, pocketed his 5th goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the back of the twine to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Despite four failed power play opportunities, the Chicago Blackhawks answered back on the scoreboard at 19:03 of the 1st period with a goal of their own. Patrick Kane registered his 8th of the playoffs and first of the series to make it a 1-1 hockey game heading into the first intermission.
No penalties were called in the 2nd period, leading some to wonder if either team even touched the ice at all for the seemingly lost twenty minutes of play. That is until Simon Despres scored his first goal of the playoffs with 54 seconds left in the period to give Anaheim a 2-1 lead heading into the 2nd intermission.
Although there were no penalties, or aggression, exchanged between both teams, there were plenty of scoring chances and saves made by Frederik Andersen and Corey Crawford. At the end of two periods of play, the Ducks led the shots on goal category 22-18. Anaheim also led in several other statistics, including hits (31-19) and blocked shots (18-9). Despite Anaheim’s dominance in stats, the United Center was still rocking through the night, packed full with Chicago Blackhawks fans.
The 3rd period witnessed no scoring, but was full of penalties (at least compared to the 2nd period). Ryan Getzlaf was called for high sticking on a controversial call at 5:02 of the 3rd. Video replay showed that Getzlaf’s stick did not make any contact with Andrew Shaw. Nearly five minutes later, Ryan Keseler and Duncan Keith were sent off the ice with coincidental minor penalties, leaving the Ducks and the Blackhawks to some 4 on 4 hockey for two minutes.
With 2 minutes left in the game, the Blackhawks pulled Crawford for an extra attacker. Unfortunately, after multiple offensive zone faceoff chances, Chicago could not capitalize on keeping the puck in the zone. Anaheim kept aiming for the empty net, but could not bury an insurance goal. With less than 10 seconds to go, Patrick Kane fired a last chance shot towards the goal that was waffle-boarded away by Andersen and the Ducks took home the victory.
After showing no signs of fatigue in the first period, fatigue eventually set in during the second period and the rest of the game. Both teams played a slower paced game after the marathon triple overtime Game 2 on Tuesday night. Luck won out for the Ducks at the end of the day, who now have a 2-1 series lead heading into Saturday night’s Game 4 in Chicago.