Tag Archives: Nate Thompson

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Finals– May 18

Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators– Game 4

Corey Perry and the Anaheim Ducks bursted the Nashville Predators undefeated at Bridgestone Arena this postseason bubble with a 3-2 victory in overtime in Game 4 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals.

In short, the series is now a best-of-three scenario as it is now tied, 2-2, heading back to Honda Center in Anaheim for Game 5.

Ducks goaltender, John Gibson made 32 saves on 34 shots against for a .941 save percentage in the win, while Predators goalie, Pekka Rinne stopped 34 out of 37 shots faced for a .919 SV% in the loss.

Rickard Rakell (7) opened the game’s scoring on a slap shot from outside the slot and just over the blue line after catching the Predators in the midst of a line change to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Cam Fowler (7) had the sole assist on Rakell’s goal.

After 20 minutes of play, Anaheim led 1-0 on the scoreboard and held Nashville to just two shots on goal in the 1st period. As a result, the Ducks set a franchise record for fewest shots against in a playoff period (2). The previous record was three back in the 1st period of Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Both Nashville and Anaheim went 0/1 on the power play entering the first intermission.

The Ducks extended their lead to two goals when Nick Ritchie (4) used Roman Josi as a screen against Rinne, then toe dragged the puck out of Josi’s reach to snipe a wrist shot top shelf on the glove side. Nate Thompson (4) and Sami Vatanen (3) were credited with the primary and secondary assists on the goal that made it 2-0 Anaheim.

Officials put away the whistles for the 2nd period, as no penalties were called, which would only provide for more scrutiny later in the game when several calls were made against the Ducks and a non-call that probably should’ve been a penalty against the Predators indirectly led to the game tying goal in the final minute of regulation.

After Nashville had an abysmal two shots on goal (compared to Anaheim’s 14 SOG) in the 1st period, the Predators picked up their offensive efforts in the 2nd period, outshooting the Ducks 18-12. Anaheim still led in total shots on goal, though, 26-20 after 40 minutes of play.

Trailing 2-0 at the start of the 3rd period, the Nashville Predators remained calm, as they had been there before this postseason, having trailed by the same score to the Blackhawks in the First Round before coming back and winning in regulation.

Anaheim could not convert on their final power play opportunity of the night about a quarter of the way into the 3rd period.

After being given two power play opportunities of their own about midway through the 3rd, the Predators had no luck on the man advantage, but had begun racking up the minutes of offensive zone time.

P.K. Subban (2) received a pass from Colin Wilson (2) and fired home a slap shot to cut the lead in half and make it a 2-1 game at 13:33 of the 3rd period. The already rambunctious fans in attendance at Bridgestone Arena only became louder as the Predators begun to smell a possible comeback. Viktor Arvidsson (7) had the secondary assist on Subban’s 2nd goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Kevin Bieksa’s high sticking infraction was quickly followed up by Anaheim’s Josh Manson’s slashing minor penalty, resulting in a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:31 with 4:38 remaining in regulation for the Preds.

Anaheim’s penalty killing unit was successful at killing off both minor penalties before Nashville could tie the game.

With less than a minute in regulation, the Predators won an offensive zone face-off and fired a barrage of shots at Gibson.

Ryan Johansen appeared to get away with a cross check to the back of one of Anaheim’s skaters, before contributing on what would end up setting up the final goal of regulation

Filip Forsberg (7) tied the game, 2-2, with his followup in front of the goal, beating Gibson to the puck before he could freeze it. Arvidsson (8) and James Neal (2) collected the helpers on the game tying goal with 34.5 seconds to go in the 3rd period.

Forsberg now has four goals in four games thus far in the series.

Nashville was mounting a comeback riding the momentum of the final 13 and a half minutes of regulation. Shots on goal were even at 31-31 after 60 minutes of play. Nashville led in blocked shots 18-15 and in giveaways 10-9, while Anaheim led in hits 28-27 and takeaways 9-6 heading into the overtime intermission.

Game 4 became just the 26th playoff game of the 2017 postseason to require overtime (two games shy of the record— 28 overtime games— set in 1993).

A little past halfway into the overtime period, Perry (4) fired a shot in the direction of the goal as a hard charging teammate, Thompson, was crashing the goal. Instead of setting up a one-timer, the puck deflected off of Nashville defenseman Subban’s stick and past Rinne to secure the 3-2 victory for the Ducks.

Perry’s game winning goal was unassisted at 10:25 of overtime and tied the series 2-2.

Anaheim finished the game leading in shots on goal 37-34, blocked shots 20-19 and giveaways 12-10, while both teams were even in hits 30-30. Neither team scored a power play goal on Thursday night, as Nashville went 0/5 on the man advantage and Anaheim went 0/2.

Puck drop for Game 5 at Honda Center back in Anaheim is scheduled for a little after 7:15 p.m. ET on Saturday night. Viewers looking to watch the game in the United States can tune to NBC, while Canadian fans can catch the game on CBC and/or TVA Sports.

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Finals – May 12

 

Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks – Game 1

With their 3-2 overtime victory over Anaheim at the Honda Center, the Predators have stolen home-ice advantage and a one-game lead in the Western Finals.

The biggest difference in this game seemed to be energy and rest. The Predators eliminated St. Louis on May 7 while the Ducks just finished their series against Edmonton on Wednesday, meaning Nashville had three more free days before resuming play.

That extra energy showed itself in a multitude of ways, but it was most noticeable in the shots on goal category. Led by Ryan Ellis‘ seven attempts that made their way to Second Star of the Game John Gibson, Nashville led the Ducks  in shots by a whopping 46-29 differential.

It took 5:15 of action before the Ducks could register even their first shot on Third Star Pekka Rinne, but it’s all they needed to take a 1-0 lead. Jakob Silfverberg was the one to register the goal, using the defending Roman Josi as a screen to bury a potent upper-90 snap shot from the near face-off circle.

But that lead didn’t last all that long, as the Predators’ efforts finally bore fruit with 7:26 remaining in the first period via a Filip Forsberg (Matt Irwin and Ryan Johansen) redirection through both Antoine Vermette and Gibson’s legs to level the game at one-all.

In terms of of the Predators’ shooting effort, it was a similar start to the second period as they managed five shots before the Ducks reached Rinne once. Fortunately for Nashville, its second tally came quicker than its first, as Austin Watson (Johansen and Mattias Ekholm) scored a slap shot only 2:42 into the middle frame for the first playoff goal of his career.

The rest of the second period was a test of special teams, specifically an Anaheim power play that can’t find results no matter how well it performs.  Only 34 seconds separated Colin Wilson exiting the penalty box after hooking Rickard Rakell and Ellis earning a seat for roughing Andrew Cogliano. Between the two man-advantages, the Ducks managed only one shot that reached Rinne (courtesy of Ryan Kesler), but the postseason’s best goaltender was more than up to the task and stopped the attempt with ease.

Randy Carlyle apparently had enough of his club being dominated offensively in the first two periods, so the Ducks turned the tables in the third. Anaheim fired five shots at Rinne in the opening 7:21 of the third frame, the last of which was a Hampus Lindholm (Nate Thompson) snapper to level the game at two-all.

Anaheim won 56% of face-offs against the Predators all game, and that came into play on Lindholm’s goal. Thompson beat Calle Jarnkrok at the dot to Rinne’s right to maintain possession in his offensive zone. He shoved the puck back towards the far point to the waiting blueliner, who was more than able to bang home his marker over the netminder’s stick shoulder.

Following their game-tying tally, the Ducks tried their hardest to lose the game by firing not one, but two pucks over the glass within 33 seconds of each other. Though Nashville earned 87 seconds of five-on-three play, it could not find its game-winning goal in regulation.

Instead, the Predators waited until the 9:24 mark of overtime before First Star James Neal (P.K. Subban and Ekholm) ripped his winning snapper into Gibson’s net. It doesn’t quite qualify for a tic-tac-goal play, but it was an absolutely brilliant assist by Subban to set up the marker.

Ekholm began the sequence by driving on Gibson’s crease in attempts of forcing the puck across the goal line, but the netminder was up to the challenge and somehow forced the puck into the far corner. The defenseman got back to his skates, chased down the puck and reset the play at the near point to Subban. The former Hab looked like he had all intentions of firing a slap shot back into the scrum, but decided instead to find a wide-open Neal in the near face-off circle. In the same swipe, Neal took possession and fired his shot over a splayed Gibson to end the game.

It’s only fitting that between these clubs’ primary colors both black and blue are represented. Hockey has never been classified as a gentleman’s game, and neither Anaheim nor Nashville are wasting any effort on chivalry. Not only were 55 total hits thrown between them, but tempers were also flaring even before the first intermission.

In particular, Johansen was certainly frustrated after Ryan Getzlaf fired a slap shot right at the Predator’s right hand covering his groin. A player would certainly be within his rights for being aggravated after taking a puck in that area, but it looks as if Getzlaf intentionally took aim at Johansen’s crotch, making the action all the more egregious. The physicality between these sides will be something to behold as this series advances.

This series will resume Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. American viewers can catch the action on NBCSN, while SN and TVAS will broadcast the game in Canada.

Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round– April 19

For at least the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the authors at Down the Frozen River present a rapid recap of all of the night’s action. Tonight’s featured writers are Connor Keith and Nick Lanciani.

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Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs – Game 4

By: Connor Keith

With the Capitals’ 5-4 victory over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre Wednesday, the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal featuring the two-time defending Presidents’ Trophy winners and the NHL’s version of the all-rookie team is now a best-of-three series.

Barry Trotz probably didn’t need to say much to his club to stress how important this game was, but whatever he did say obviously worked. Before Toronto had even managed its second shot on goal, First Star of the Game T.J. Oshie (Nicklas Backstrom and Nate Schmidt) had already registered the Capitals’ first tally.

That trend continued for the rest of the first period. Though Zach Hyman (Jake Gardiner and Third Star William Nylander) managed to register a marker for the Maple Leafs, Alex Ovechkin (Kevin Shattenkirk) and Second Star Tom Wilson (Lars Eller and Dmitry Orlov) – twice (Andre Burakovsky and Brooks Orpik) – all got on the board before the first intermission to give the Caps a 4-1 lead.

Over the course of the remaining 40 minutes, the real pressure was on Braden Holtby and Washington’s defensive corps, the best in the business during the regular season. Led by Orlov’s five shot blocks throughout the contest, that defense played exceptionally, allowing only 28 total shots against in the second and third periods. Holtby let one by each period to allow the Leafs to pull within a goal with eight minutes remaining on the clock, but the man to save Washington has a little bit of history wearing red, white and blue.

The play started with a loose puck at the blue line of Frederik Andersen’s zone that neither Burakovsky nor Auston Matthews could fully take control. Though the puck ended up between three Maple Leafs, it was Backstrom that ended up with possession. The center quickly passed to Oshie, who ripped a snap shot from the near slot between Andersen’s glove and the pipe.

Oshie’s tally proved to be especially important, as it became the game-winner when Tyler Bozak (Mitch Marner and Nylander) banged home a wrister with the extra attacker with 27 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Capitals made it unnecessarily hard on themselves to secure this victory though, as both Eller (delay of game – smothering puck) and Orpik (slashing against Marner) earned seats in the penalty box during a face-off in the defensive zone to set up 1:53 of five-on-three play to start the third. Regardless, the regular season’s seventh-best penalty kill proved itself by allowing only five shots to reach Holtby, and he saved all of them to maintain the then 4-2 advantage.

The series will recommence Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern time at the Verizon Center, the home of the Capitals. Americans wishing to watch game will find it on NBCSN, while Canada will be serviced by both CBC and TVAS2.

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Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins— Game 4

The Ottawa Senators are one win away from advancing to the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs after beating the Boston Bruins 1-0 in Game 4. Bobby Ryan continued his hot streak with the only goal in Wednesday night’s action in Boston, while Craig Anderson picked up the 22 save shutout win.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask made 26 saves on 27 shots faced for a .963 save percentage in the loss.

After trading scoring chance after scoring chance in the first period, neither Anderson nor Rask had allowed a puck to sneak behind them into the net. Brad Marchand had a couple of tremendous breakaway opportunities in the first 20 minutes that Anderson had denied (first with his left leg on a Marchand backhand going five-hole attempt, then later with his right leg on another opportunity whereby Marchand couldn’t elevate the puck enough on a forehand snapper).

The Senators dominated possession of the puck on special teams advantages, but couldn’t translate any of that attacking zone time into a power play goal after entering Wednesday night 3/10 on the power play. Instead, the Bruins killed all three of the penalties they amassed in Game 4 to improve their penalty kill to a 76.9% effective rating.

Noel Acciari thought he had his second goal of the postseason just past halfway in the 2nd period on a redirected slap shot from Charlie McAvoy, however after Ottawa challenged the goal on the condition that it might have been offsides, video replay clearly showed Acciari entering Boston’s offensive zone illegally about 20 seconds before the would-be goal was scored. As a result, the call on the ice was overturned and the score remained, 0-0.

Ryan (3) tapped home the game winning goal after receiving a fake shot pass from Erik Karlsson. Ryan crashed the net while Rask was seemingly down and away and if it weren’t for the fact that Rask’s stick paddle was parallel to the ice, perhaps he might have made more than just one desperation save on Ryan’s initial shot.

Instead an outstretched Rask bumped the puck, slowing its velocity, but failed to cover it up for a face-off, leaving the hard-charging Ryan with an easy to pocket “just tap it in” moment reminiscent of the movie Happy Gilmore but with more of a success rate than Happy Gilmore’s mini golf endeavor.

Karlsson (5) and Derick Brassard (3) had the primary and secondary assists on Ryan’s goal at 5:49 of the 3rd period.

Ottawa takes a 3-1 series lead home to Canadian Tire Centre on Friday. Puck drop is scheduled for a little after 7:30 p.m. ET and Game 5 can be viewed nationally in the United States on USA and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

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Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues – Game 4

By: Connor Keith

Facing elimination, the Wild pulled out a 2-0 victory Wednesday over St. Louis at Scottrade Center, pulling them within a 3-1 deficit in their Western Conference Quarterfinal.

Staying true to form, this was another goaltending battle between two of the hottest netminders in the game right now. First Star of the Game Devan Dubnyk rejected each and every one of the 28 Blues shots he faced for his first victory of the 2017 postseason, while Jake Allen saved 26-of-28 (92.9%) in the loss.

The Blues seemed to know what was on the line in this game, and you could see it in their play. That sentence can be read both positively and negatively, and unfortunately for St. Louis it was the latter. Even though the Notes led the first period’s hit count (including five over the course of the game by Third Star Ryan Reaves) – which usually increases the fans’ energy – they managed only four shots on goal.

Second Star Charlie Coyle and the Wild – who fired 11 shots in the first period – took advantage of their opponent’s lackadaisical start by burying a wrister with 3:10 remaining in the frame. Though unassisted, he did get a helper on the play from Allen. Coyle dumped the puck into the zone, and Eric Staal’s pursuit forced Allen to make a play behind his net.

That’s where Coyle’s plan came to fruition. Allen’s sole intention was to get the puck out of the zone, so he tried to play it up the far boards. Instead of chasing the puck, the forward stayed home and intercepted Allen’s attempt at the far face-off circle. He immediately ripped his wrister that banked off the near post and into the back of the net.

The only other goal belonged to Martin Hanzal (Jason Pominville and Nate Prosser), a wrist shot with 3:19 remaining in the second period.  The play stretched the full stretch of the rink, starting with Prosser’s pass from the near face-off dot in the Wild’s defensive zone. His pass found Pominville at the red line, and he immediately dished to a streaking Hanzal. The center split Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo before releasing his shot from between the face-off circles, beating Allen stick-side.

Minnesota forced a Game 5, and it will host that contest at the Xcel Energy Center Saturday at 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Canadian broadcasters will be both SN and TVAS, and American viewers may watch that matchup on NBC.

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Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames— Game 4

The Anaheim Ducks punched their ticket to the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 victory on the road, sweeping the Calgary Flames in four games.

Nate Thompson scored what would become the game winning goal early in the first period as the Ducks went on to sweep a playoff opponent in a best-of-seven game series for just the fifth time in franchise history.

Anaheim goaltender, John Gibson made 36 saves on 37 shots against for a .973 save percentage in the win, while Calgary goalies Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson split time in the loss. Elliott stopped two out of three shots before being replaced 5:38 into the 1st period by Johnson who went on to save 20 out of 21 shots against over 51:50 of time on ice.

Patrick Eaves (1) kicked things off on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal at 5:38 of the 1st period. Thompson (2) followed suit with his game winning goal 78 seconds later that made it 2-0 Anaheim. Rickard Rakell (3) and Corey Perry (2) notched assists on Thompson’s goal at 6:46 of the 1st.

Late in the 2nd period the Flames took advantage of their third and final power play of the night as Sean Monahan (4) continued his recent run of scoring. Kris Versteeg (3) and Troy Brouwer (2) collected the assists on Monahan’s power play goal at 16:07 of the 2nd period. Calgary cut the lead in half and went into the second intermission trailing, 2-1.

As the clock ticked down on Calgary’s season, Johnson vacated the goal for an extra attacker. Gibson stood tall as save after save piled up and the Ducks failed to clear the puck without icing it.

After a blocked shot, Ryan Getzlaf (3) brought the puck across the ice and put the series away on an empty net goal with 6.7 seconds left on the clock.

Having won the series, 4-0, the Anaheim Ducks advance to the Second Round and will face the winner of the Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks series matchup.

Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round– April 17

For at least the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the authors at Down the Frozen River present a rapid recap of all of the night’s action. Tonight’s featured writers are Connor Keith and Nick Lanciani.

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Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins— Game 3

The Ottawa Senators held off a charging effort from a thrilling comeback that just wasn’t meant to be for the Boston Bruins in a thrilling 4-3 victory in overtime on road ice at TD Garden on Monday night.

Bobby Ryan’s game winning goal on the power play came just five minutes, 43 seconds into overtime, sending Boston fans home unhappy on perhaps one of the happiest days of the year in the city— Patriot’s Day.

Ottawa goaltender, Craig Anderson made 17 saves on 20 shots faced for an .850 save percentage in 65:43 time on ice for the win, while Boston’s Tuukka Rask made 28 saves on 32 shots against for an .875 SV% in the loss.

Senators forward, Mike Hoffman (1) kicked off scoring 7:15 into the 1st period with a nifty move (shades of Peter Forsberg) on a breakaway pass from Erik Karlsson that beat Rask. Karlsson (3) and Zach Smith (1) had the primary and secondary assists on what it sure to be a highlight reel goal in Ottawa’s promotional videos for a little while, at least.

Derick Brassard (2) quickly made it 2-0 with a one-timer from the low slot 35 seconds after Hoffman made it 1-0. Ryan (2) and Viktor Stalberg (1) contributed on Brassard’s goal that all but sucked the life out of the building.

With Kevan Miller in the box for interference, the Bruins’s already lackluster penalty kill from a rash of injuries on the blue line suffered even more. Hoffman (2) found the twine for his 2nd goal of the night just 3:42 into the 2nd period and made it a 3-0 lead. Chris Wideman (1) and Brassard (2) tallied assists on Hoffman’s power play goal.

A three goal deficit looked insurmountable for Boston, considering their lack of offensive prowess thus far into the game.

But Noel Acciari (1) redirected his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal at 6:05 of the 2nd period to put the Bruins on the scoreboard and cut the lead to two. John-Michael Liles (1) and Riley Nash (2) had the assists on the goal that made it a 3-1 game.

Just 42 seconds later, David Backes (1) had his turn to score on the breakaway— and he did, beating Anderson on the low side with help from Liles (2) and Tommy Cross (1). The Providence Bruins (AHL) captain, Cross notched his first career point in a Stanley Cup Playoff game in just his first appearance in a NHL playoff game.

Boston was right back into the swing of things, trailing 3-2.

David Pastrnak (1) unleashed a cannon of a shot on a power play goal for his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs goal in just his third career NHL playoffs appearance at 13:51 of the 2nd. The assists on Pastrnak’s goal went to Charlie McAvoy (1) and Ryan Spooner (2). As a result, McAvoy picked up his first career Stanley Cup Playoff point in his third career NHL playoff game— he’s yet to debut in the regular season, mind you.

Both teams swapped chances until regulation alone could not decide the outcome of the game.

Ryan (2) continued his recent streak of timely contributions with a power play goal at 5:43 of overtime. Ryan’s goal did not come without controversy, however. No, it was not because of an offsides review, but rather, the fact that it appeared as though Ryan had gotten away with a right elbow on Bruins forward, Riley Nash, before Nash retaliated and was subsequently penalized.

Regardless of the right call/wrong call argument, Kyle Turris (1) and Karlsson (4) notched the assists on the game winning goal and the Senators now have a 2-1 series lead.

Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday night at TD Garden with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on USA in the United States and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

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Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs— Game 3

By: Connor Keith

As has become custom with this series, Toronto needed overtime to beat the Capitals 4-3 Monday at the Air Canada Centre and earn a one-game lead in its Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

Game 3’s overtime hero is none other than longtime Leaf and First Star of the Game Tyler Bozak, but the game-winning play actually started before regulation even ended. Not only did Toronto outshoot the Capitals 9-3 in the third period, but they also earned a man-advantage. With 16 seconds remaining before the end of regulation, Lars Eller earned himself a seat in the penalty box for hi-sticking Zach Hyman. Hyman had already gotten under Washington’s skin earlier in the period, as he and Game 1’s winner, Tom Wilson, both earned negating roughing penalties with 2:32 remaining in regulation.

Washington was only seven seconds from killing off Toronto’s third power play of the game, but Bozak had other intentions. After Bozak won possession behind Braden Holtby’s net, Morgan Rielly got ahold of the puck at the blue line to reset the play. He dished to Nazem Kadri at the far face-off circle, who quickly fired a wrist shot towards the crease. It was intentionally off target, a set play the Leafs have been working on that allowed Bozak to redirect the puck to the near post past Holtby’s blocker for the lone man-advantage goal of the contest.

To make matters worse for the Caps, they are just another chapter in what seems to be the most popular sports meme of the past year: Washington joins the Cleveland Indians and Golden State Warriors in blowing a 3-1 lead.*

Washington’s first line was on fire to start this matchup. After only 4:49 of play, Third Star Nicklas Backstrom (Nate Schmidt and T.J. Oshie) and Alex Ovechkin (Backstrom and Oshie) had both found the back of the net for an early 2-0 lead. If not for Second Star Auston Matthews’ (Rielly) tally with 5:52 remaining in the first period, Evgeny Kuznetsov’s (Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams) goal 5:39into the second frame would have been three-straight goals before the midway point.

But as swift as the Capitals’ offense was to start the first period, the Maple Leafs were just as fast to close the second. In a span of only4:07, Kadri (Leo Komarov) and William Nylander (Matthews and Hyman) scored a tip-in and a wrister, respectively, to level the game at three-all.

Perhaps the most exciting play of the game belonged to Holtby, but it wasn’t anything he did in his crease. He stopped any chance of a Leafs breakaway opportunity at the tail end of a Washington five-on-three advantage in the second period. As Mitch Marner was screaming up the far end of the ice, he emerged from his crease to beyond the face-off circle to force the puck off of the rookie’s stick.

*Honorary Mention: the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead.

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Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators— Game 3

By: Connor Keith

With a 3-2 overtime victory at Bridgestone Arena Monday, Nashville has taken a three-game lead in its Western Conference Quarterfinals matchup against the Blackhawks.

Pick your overtime goal-scorer from the Predators’ roster: Viktor Arvidsson? Second Star of the Game Filip Forsberg? Ryan Johansen? James Neal?

No, nope, nada and that was the closest guess, but still wrong. It was actually rookie Kevin Fiala, who took First Star honors with only his second tally of the postseason.

The play actually started as a simple dump along the far boards into the offensive zone by Calle Jarnkrok to give Nashville a defensive line change due to a poor pass from Neal at the blue line. To make up for his mistake, Neal meets the puck along the near boards and begins advancing it towards Corey Crawford’s net by using the eventual goal-scorer as a screen. Once Fiala reached the top of the crease, Neal dished the puck to him for an easy backhanded winner.

An overtime winner is far from how the Preds started Game 3. It seems the Blackhawks’ offense was taking a vacation and catching some tunes at the Grand Ole Opry in the first two games of this series. Now that it is reconnected with the club, it’s all Chicago could seem to do. Only 65 seconds into the second period, Dennis Rasmussen (Marcus Kruger and Richard Panik) scored the Hawks’ first goal of the series, followed 10:10 later by Patrick Kane’s (Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews) first goal since March 27. Chicago took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission and looked to be righting the ship.

My how things changed in a hurry, but Joel Quenneville is going to have some questions for the league on his day off Tuesday, as he is probably of the opinion that neither of the Predators’ regulation goals should have counted.

The first is less of a discussion point. Arvidsson fired the original wrist shot, but overshot the crossbar and sent the puck flying towards the glass. …Or, at least that’s what Crawford expected. But instead of finding glass, Arvidsson’s misfire banked off one of Bridgestone Arena’s golden stanchions that connect the panes of glass, causing a wild ricochet that ended up landing right in front of an unknowing Crawford. Forsberg discovered the puck first, and he finished the play with a wrist shot only 4:24 into the third period.

The reason for doubt with this goal is no camera angle – at least not one that CNBC had access to – could tell if the puck continued travelling up the glass after hitting the stanchion and touched the netting. If it did, the puck that landed in Crawford’s crease should have been ruled dead, meaning the goal would not have counted.

The second though, that is the one that had the entire Windy City screaming at its televisions. After receiving a feed from Johansen, Ryan Ellis fired a strong slap shot from the point. His aim was pure, but Crawford was able to deflect, but not contain the puck. Forsberg took advantage, as he collected the rebound by crossing the crease and puts it far post to level the game at two-all.

Forsberg’s collection (or his board, as basketball fans would say) is where things get a little hairy. As he traverses the crease, he makes contact with Crawford – who is technically outside his crease, but has established his position – and knocks the goaltender off-balance. Though the Blackhawks challenged the play, the replay official in Toronto upheld the goal with no goaltender interference.

Probably something about no conclusive evidence. That’s what every official ever says from the replay booth.

A third period battle that was especially exciting to watch was contested between P.K. Subban and Toews. Near the midway point of the third period, the golden-clad defenseman effectively, though legally, tripped the Hawks’ captain. Of course, Toews didn’t like that too much and landed a forceful slash on the back of Subban’s legs – one of the few places a skater has no padding. But what really made this battle so interesting – be it between Subban and Toews or any other plays – is the level of respect exhibited by both sides. No matter what happened while the clock was running, the physical play stopped almost immediately after the whistle was blown.

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Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames— Game 3

Speaking of blown leads (look at Connor’s WSH @ TOR recap for reference), the Calgary Flames blew a 4-1 lead in Game 3 of their First Round matchup with the Anaheim Ducks and succumbed to a 5-4 overtime loss Monday night on home ice at Scotiabank Saddledome

Anaheim goaltender, John Gibson made 12 saves on 16 shots against before being replaced by Jonathan Bernier, who went on to stop all 16 shots he faced in the remaining 32:57 of the game for the win. Flames goalie, Brian Elliott made 22 saves out of 27 shots faced for an .815 save percentage in the loss.

Sean Monahan (3) kicked off scoring early into the 1st period for Calgary with a power play goal. Troy Brouwer (1) and Johnny Gaudreau (2) were credited with the helpers as the Flames took a 1-0 lead just 2:10 into the game.

Kris Versteeg (1) followed suit with a power play goal of his own and his first goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs a little over seven minutes later to put Calgary up 2-0. Monahan (1) and T.J. Brodie (3) had the helpers on Versteeg’s first postseason goal in a Flames uniform.

Before the first period was out, there were some signs of life from the Ducks, as Nick Ritchie (1) notched his first of the 2017 postseason behind Elliott. Antoine Vermette (1) and Hampus Lindholm (1) assisted on Ritchie’s goal which cut the lead in half heading into the first intermission. 

Things were looking up for the Flames as their February acquisition from the Arizona Coyotes, defenseman Michael Stone (1), scored his first of the playoffs 4:34 into the second frame. Stone’s goal was assisted by Brodie (4) and Mikael Backlund (1) and added some insurance to their lead at 3-1.

Sam Bennett (2) added to a hot night for the Flames power play unit with a goal at 8:33 of the 2nd period. Calgary captain, Mark Giordano (1) and Backlund (2) picked up the assists as the lead grew to 4-1.

But Shea Theodore (1) wouldn’t let the Flames or their fans become complacent just yet, firing his first of the postseason into the twine with 49 seconds left in the 2nd period to make it a 4-2 game. Rickard Rakell (1) and Kevin Bieksa (3) assisted on Theodore’s goal.

If you thought the Flames were in the clear past halfway in the 3rd period, you were wrong.

Nate Thompson (1) tipped in his first of the playoffs on a goal that was reviewed for a potential high stick 11:14 into the final frame of regulation. Lindholm (2) fired the original shot and Corey Perry (1) sent the initial pass to Lindholm for the primary and secondary assists on Thompson’s goal.

Theodore (2) struck for the 2nd time on the night with Bieksa (4) and Thompson (1) collecting the helpers on the game tying goal at 15:39 of the 3rd period.

In a little over four minutes the Ducks had tied the game, 4-4, and forced overtime.

Sudden death overtime didn’t last too long, however, as Perry (1) wired one past Calgary’s net minder 90 seconds into the overtime period. Rakell (2) and Thompson (2) had the assists on what became a three point night for Nate Thompson (one goal, two assists). Anaheim had completed the comeback and stolen a win on road ice.

Perry’s goal marked the first time in franchise history for the Ducks to have overcome a three-goal deficit and win in a postseason game. Monday night also marked the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that all four games scheduled on the same night required overtime.

Anaheim now leads Calgary 3-0 in the series with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET. Wednesday’s action can be viewed nationwide in the United States on USA and in Canada on CBC and TVA Sports.

Ducks Rout Predators 4-1, Series Tied 2-2

By: Nick Lanciani

UnknownThe Anaheim Ducks defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1 on road ice at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday night. Frederik Andersen made 30 saves on 31 shots faced for a .968 SV% in the victory, while Pekka Rinner made 21 saves on 25 shots against for a .840 SV% in the loss.

Sixty-two seconds into the first period, Ryan Getzlaf sent one behind Rinne to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Getzlaf’s 2nd goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs was assisted by David Perron (1) and Kevin Bieksa (1) and was just the Ducks 2nd shot of the night.

Shea Weber was guilty of the game’s first penalty when he sent the puck over the glass for a delay of game minor penalty at 7:41 of the first period. The Ducks were unable to convert on the man advantage and David Perron was called for a tripping minor himself at 8:15 of the period. Nashville was unable to capitalize on their short power play while Perron was still in box and failed to convert on another power play before the end of the 1st when Anaheim defenseman, Cam Fowler was sent to the box for delay of game.

After twenty minutes of play, both teams had seven shots on goal and the Ducks were leading 1-0 on the scoreboard as well as in hits (14-13), takeaways (2-1) and blocked shots (11-0). The Predators were leading in faceoff wins (11-6) and giveaways (3-0).

Twenty-six seconds into the second period, Ryan Garbutt tripped up Predators star, Filip Forsberg, giving Nashville a power play. Nashville was unable to utilize the man advantage to their advantage.

UnknownMike Fisher tied the game at 1 at 11:26 of the 2nd period with his goal of the series, assisted by Colin Wilson (2) and Shea Weber (1).

Colton Sissons took a trip to the sin bin at 12:45 of the second period for interference, but was followed up by David Perron canceling Anaheim’s power play a mere five seconds later after high sticking Fisher. Simon Despres and Viktor Arvidsson took a tripping call and an unsportsmanlike minor respectively at 15:55 of the 2nd period.

Nate Thompson received a pass from Rickard Rakell and scored the eventual game winning goal at 17:04 of the second period. Sami Vatanen was credited with the secondary assist. Almost two minutes later, Jamie McGinn made it 3-1 Anaheim with a goal that was assisted by Chris Stewart.

At the end of two periods the Ducks led the Predators 3-1 on the scoreboard and trailed 23-19 in shots on goal.

After failing to capitalize on two power play opportunities in the first half of the third period, Nashville found themselves behind the eight ball if there was any hope for a comeback on home ice in Game 4. At 16:52 of the third period, Andrew Cogliano put the game away for the Ducks with a goal that put Anaheim ahead 4-1. Cogliano’s goal— his 2nd of the playoffs— was assisted by Jakob Silfverberg.

The Ducks were victorious after sixty minutes of play, despite trailing in many statistics. The Predators lost 4-1, but led in shots on goal (31-25), hits (41-27), faceoff wins (31-22) and giveaways (8-3) in Game 4, while Anaheim led in takeaways (7-3) and blocked shots (25-12). Neither team was successful on the power play, with the Ducks having gone 0/5 and the Preds having gone 0/6 on Thursday night.

With the series now tied 2-2, the rest of the best-of-7 series now essentially shifts to a best two-out-of-three scenario. Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California with more information about the time of puck drop and what channel it will be broadcasted on to be provided by the NHL.

Nashville at Anaheim – Game 2 – Smith leads the Preds to a two-game lead

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On Craig Smith’s two point night, the Nashville Predators have taken a two-game lead over the Anaheim Ducks by winning 3-2 before making the trip to Music City.

Andrew Cogliano opened the scoring with 5:40 remaining in the opening frame with an unassisted backhander, but they couldn’t hold that lead into the intermission, as Mattias Ekholm, assisted by Colin Wilson and Smith, leveled the score on a backhander with 56 seconds remaining in the frame.

Both sides certainly had their opportunity to find more offense, as a total of five penalties were committed for three power plays (favoring Nashville by a lone advantage).

Smith liked being involved in the scoring, so he gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at the 9:55 mark on a wrister, assisted by Filip Forsberg and Third Star of the Game Roman Josi.  Josi passed the puck to Forsberg, who pulled the net behind John Gibson’s net.  As Smith advanced towards the crease, Forsberg put the puck on his stick, allowing Smith to find the left post.  Things leveled out following that tally, as neither team was able to effect that score.  With 2:30 remaining in the second period, David Perron was sent to the box for interference against Ryan Ellis, which proved to be costly, as Shea Weber’s slap shot, assisted by Josi and Forsberg, found the back of Gibson’s net at the 19:21 mark to set the differential at two tallies, and proved to be the eventual game winner.

With 2:42 remaining in regulation, Second Star Nate Thompson’s backhander, assisted by Jakob Silfverberg and Cogliano made things interesting, as he connected to pull the Ducks within a goal.  But, even with the extra attacker from pulling Gibson, Anaheim was not able to defend their home ice and level the game.

Although this was a fun, tight game to watch according to the scoreboard, the true story was being played out along the boards.  79 total hits were thrown in the game, with the majority (47) thrown by the losing Ducks, who also sat in the box three times as long as Nashville.

First Star Pekka Rinne earns the victory after saving 27 of 29 shots faced (93.1%), while Gibson takes the loss, saving 24 of 27 (88.9%).

These teams will meet up again in Nashville on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. eastern.  That contest can be viewed on SN360, TVAS2 or USA.

Predators Stun Heavily Favored Ducks in Game 1 at Honda Center

By: Nick Lanciani

Pekka Rinne, and the usual suspects for the Nashville Predators when it comes time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, stunned the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of their series, emerging victorious on road ice, 3-2. Rinne made 27 saves on 29 shots against for a .931 SV% while picking up the win, as Anaheim’s goaltender, John Gibson made 30 saves on 33 shots against for a .909 SV% in the loss.

Gibson had appeared in four Stanley Cup Playoff games heading into Friday night at the Honda Center, having gone 2-2 with a 2.70 GAA, and entered the night as the regular season’s tied-for-2nd best goaltender in goals-against-average with St. Louis Blues goalie, Brian Elliot, with a 2.07 GAA behind only Tampa Bay Lightning goalie, Ben Bishop’s 2.06 GAA.

UnknownJames Neal started the scoring for Nashville 35 seconds into the first period and gave the Predators a 1-0 lead with some help from Ryan Johansen.

The Predators and Ducks then swapped minor penalties about four minutes apart nearly seven minutes and eleven minutes into the opening frame, with Nashville forward, Mike Ribero, being sent to the box for hooking at 7:08 and Anaheim defenseman, Simon Despres, sent to the sin bin for high sticking at 11:24 of the first period. Neither team was successful on their first power play opportunities of the night.

At 16:15 of the first period, Nashville’s Anthony Bitetto was called for holding the stick of Ducks forward, Nate Thompson, giving Anaheim a power play. Less than 40 seconds later, the Ducks went on a two-man advantage with star defenseman, Shea Weber, going to the box for cross checking David Perron.

Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf capitalized on the ensuing 5-on-3 power play with his first playoff goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs assisted by Cam Fowler and Corey Perry at 17:39 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Shots on goal were even at 12-12 after the first twenty minutes of play and the Ducks were leading in hits (16-12), faceoffs (17-9) and giveaways (7-2), while the Predators led in takeaways (1-0) and blocked shots (8-4).

The second period started with another quick goal, however, it was scored this time Anaheim Ducks forward, Ryan Kesler, to give the Ducks their first lead of the night at 2-1, 48 seconds into the 2nd. Kesler’s goal was assisted by Andrew Cogliano (1) and Hampus Lindholm (1).

UnknownNashville responded to Anaheim’s goal with a goal from Colin Wilson at 7:55 of the 2nd period, with help from Ryan Ellis (1) and Roman Josi (1) to tie the game, 2-2.

Both teams continued to swap chances as the rest of the second period went on and after forty minutes of play the Predators were leadings in shots on goal 25-20, takeaways (3-1) and blocked shots (12-11). Anaheim, on the other hand, led in faceoffs (26-17) and giveaways (12-6) after forty. Both teams had 27 hits aside.

Twenty-five seconds past halfway in the third period, Filip Forsberg shot the puck towards Gibson and it appeared to have deflected off of Anaheim’s Shea Theodore and wound up behind Gibson. Forsberg’s fluke goal proved to be the game winner, as the Ducks could not answer the Predators tally, despite trailing 3-2 with almost half a period left in regulation.

Anaheim used their timeout with 1:51 remaining in the game and had pulled their goaltender, but it was to no avail. Nashville kept the puck out of their zone and forced the Ducks to recover and retreat.

After sixty minutes of play, the Nashville Predators had won 3-2 and took a 1-0 series lead on the home ice advantage, Anaheim Ducks. The Preds ended the game with 33 shots on goal compared to the Ducks 29. Nashville also led in hits (33-31) and blocked shots (20-17), while Anaheim dominated the faceoff dot (42-27), giveaways (20-11) and went 1/4 on the power play. The Predators failed to convert on all three of their power play opportunities and tied the Ducks in takeaways (5-5).

This is just the 2nd time that the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators have met in a Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup. The previous series between these two teams was back in the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals, where Nashville went on to win the series in six games (4-2). That same series was the first playoff series win in the Predators franchise history, before succumbing to the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Western Conference Semifinals.

Game 2 of this year’s 2016 Western Conference Quarterfinal between Anaheim and Nashville is slated for Sunday at 10:30 PM EST on NBCSN, live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, before swinging to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Blackhawks Win 5-2, Force Game 7 in Anaheim

2015 Western Conference Finals Game 6 Recap

By: Nick Lanciani

Unknown-2In front of 22,089 fans at the United Center on Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to stave off elimination and force a Game 7 on Saturday night in Anaheim with a 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Patrick Kane’s 10th goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the game winning goal in the Blackhawks winning effort as Corey Crawford made 30 saves on 32 shots against to pick up the win.

Anaheim’s, Frederik Andersen, made 18 saves on 22 shots faced in the loss. Chicago’s Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith had impressive efforts as well, with Shaw scoring two goals and Keith earning three assists on the night.

A scoreless first period ended with 10 shots on goal for Anaheim and 6 shots on goal for Chicago. The Blackhawks also dominated faceoff wins 15-4, while the Ducks led hits 18-15 and blocked shots 13-5. Both teams went 0/1 on the power play as Anaheim couldn’t capitalize on a too many men bench minor against the Blackhawks, 1:59 into the period, and Chicago couldn’t score on their power play opportunity as a result of Corey Perry’s hooking penalty at 7:06 of the 1st period.

At 8:23 of the 2nd period Brandon Saad raced down the ice on a breakaway and landed a shot past Andersen and into the back of the net for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead. The goal was Saad’s 5th of the playoffs and was assisted by Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith. A little over two minutes later, Chicago went ahead 2-0 on a goal from Marian Hossa with help from Keith and Brad Richards. Finally, at 12:08 of the 2nd period, Kane picked up his 10th goal of the postseason with Keith earning his 3rd assist of the night, cementing a 3-0 Blackhawks lead a little past halfway into the period.

UnknownBrad Richards took a hooking penalty at 14:08 of the 2nd period, resulting in a Ducks power play. Anaheim stopped some of the bleeding with a power play goal from Patrick Maroon via crafty work by Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen. For now, at least, the score was 3-1 and the Ducks successfully displayed a sign of life. Ryan Kesler gave Chicago their third and final power play opportunity of the night after tripping goaltender, Corey Crawford, setting the standard for a little more contact with both goalies in the 3rd period.

Shots on goal were deadlocked at 19-19 and hits were tied, 30-30, by the second intermission. Anaheim led blocked shots 18-8 and were 1 for 2 on the power play, while Chicago continued to dominate faceoff wins, 29-11, and were 0 for 3 on the man advantage.

Andrew Shaw celebrates one of his third period goals in Game 6 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals in Chicago. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Andrew Shaw celebrates one of his third period goals in Game 6 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals in Chicago. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The 3rd period got off to a quick start for the Ducks, showing signs of a potentially thrilling comeback, as Clayton Stoner notched his 1st goal of the playoffs at 1:57 of the period. Nate Thompson and Jakob Silfverberg were credited assists on Stoner’s goal. Silfverberg, in fact, clipped Crawford’s glove as he was skating in front of the net, causing some to argue for goaltender interference, but the fact of the matter was that 1) Silfverberg was well out of the crease 2) knew where Crawford was in relation to where he was heading and 3) Crawford might have stuck his glove hand out to bat Silfverberg away, thus hampering his own chances at being fully able to make a save.

At least, those might have been a few things that crossed the referee’s mind in not making a call and reversing the goal on the ice.

Kesler and Silfverberg’s bumps into the goalie weren’t the only ones in the game. Nearly a minute and a half after Stoner’s goal, Chicago’s Andrew Desjardins was sent to the box for goaltender interference in a clear disregard for the established “don’t touch the goalie” rule after knocking down Frederik Andersen in the crease, perhaps in retaliation for the Ducks called and uncalled run ins with Crawford.

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The pace of the game settled in until there was about three and a half minutes to go, when the intensity really picked up as Anaheim desperately tried for a tying goal. Instead, Desjardins had a quick breakout with Andrew Shaw, who began to put away the hopes of a Ducks comeback in Game 6 with his 3rd goal of the playoffs at 16:28 of the period.

The Blackhawks had amassed 22 shots on goal, seven fewer than the Ducks, and yet had a 4-2 lead and were closer to a Game 7 than the Ducks were to a comeback. It wasn’t long before Anaheim was outshooting Chicago 31-22 and had an offensive zone faceoff with Andersen already pulled and 1:05 remaining in the game.

At 19:11, Shaw put away an empty netter for his 2nd goal of the night, assisted by Desjardins, and gave the Blackhawks a 5-2 lead. The Ducks ended the night with 32 shots on goal and Chicago wrapped up the game with 23 shots on net. Anaheim continued to display a much more physical game, leading in hits, 43-38- although that usually means that the more physical team spent less time with the puck.

Chicago amassed 33 faceoff wins in the game, compared to Anaheim’s 17 faceoff wins, and reduced the differential in blocked shots to 4, with Anaheim leading 23-19. Anaheim finished the night 1 for 3 on the power play, while the Blackhawks were 0 for 3 on the night.

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With the 5-2 win at home, the Chicago Blackhawks tied the series 3-3, sending the Western Conference Finals to a Game 7 on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Puck drop is scheduled for 8 PM on NBC.

The winner will not only be the Western Conference champion, but will have the advantage of knowing who they will face in the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, as the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning battle in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

This year marks the first time since 2000, that both conference finals have gone all the way to Game 7’s to determine the Stanley Cup Finalists. Fifteen years ago, the New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers to represent the Eastern Conference, while the Dallas Stars topped the Colorado Avalanche to represent the Western Conference.

Kruger Ends Longest Game in Blackhawks History, Series Tied 1-1

2015 Western Conference Finals Game 2 Recap

By: Nick Lanciani

Unknown-2After a 4-1 loss in Game 1, the Chicago Blackhawks made sure they started Game 2 with a bit more intensity- and that they did. After leading 2-0, the Blackhawks almost let the Anaheim Ducks take a 2-0 series lead after Anaheim tied the game in the 2nd period. But it would take three overtimes before Game 2 was settled.

Marcus Kruger scored just his 2nd of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, clinching the 3-2 win and tying the 2015 Western Conference Finals series at one game apiece, in what had started as Tuesday night on the East Coast and spilled over to shortly after two in the morning on Wednesday. It was Chicago’s longest game in franchise history, surpassing a 3-2 triple overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens back on April 9th, 1931.

Corey Crawford, the winning goaltender, made 60 saves on 62 shots against, while Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen made 53 saves on 56 shots. Combined, both teams had 118 shots on goal. Game 3 of the series shifts to the United Center in Chicago on Thursday night.

At 2:14 of the first period, Chicago’s Andrew Shaw, got the Blackhawks on the board on a power play goal assisted by Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews. About four minutes later, the Blackhawks scored another power play goal, this time on a deflection from Marian Hossa, assisted by Bryan Bickell (who tipped it towards Hossa in the first place) and Brad Richards. It was the first two goal deficit that the Anaheim Ducks faced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

As things looked more and more like the game was going to be all Chicago, the Ducks found their way on the scoreboard with a deflection of their own off of the skate of Andrew Cogliano, assisted by Nate Thompson and Cam Fowler. The Honda Center crowd was right back in the thick of things as momentum pulled a 180 and began favoring Anaheim.

By the end of the 1st period, the Blackhawks were outshooting the Ducks 12-7- much like how they outshot the Ducks for the entirety of Game 1- while hits were 24-15 in favor of Anaheim, and faceoff wins were 12-9 in favor of Chicago.

The 2nd period saw the familiar domination we’ve come to expect from the Anaheim Ducks in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Anaheim played a more physical game than the Blackhawks in Game 1 and continued to play a more physical game in Game 2, leading 35-23 in hits at the end of forty minutes of play.

UnknownCorey Perry scored his 8th goal of the playoffs on what was yet another deflection on the night and tied the game 2-2 for the Ducks. Perry’s goal was assisted by Ryan Getzlaf and Sami Vatanen.

In total, three penalties were called in the 2nd period (one more than the 1st period), as the period came to a close with some 4 on 4 action. For the first time in the series, Anaheim led Chicago 26-19 in shots on goal. Both teams were 24-24 in faceoff wins at the end of two periods.

The third period saw some action, but neither team was able to score, sending the game into overtime. The first overtime witnessed some great chances early on from both the Ducks on Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks on Frederik Andersen, however fatigue soon set in around the ten-minute mark and both teams lost the rhythm of the game. Ducks fans, however were still loud and thumping as the clock struck midnight on the East Coast (alas, it was only 9:00 PM PT).

Anaheim couldn’t capitalize on a great opportunity when Crawford was down and a bit too far out of the crease- Simon Despres just couldn’t settle the puck enough on a backhand, empty net, opportunity. Andersen had 8 saves in the first overtime, while Crawford had 9 saves in the same time span. The shots on goal total at the end of the first overtime were 43-36 in favor of Anaheim. The Blackhawks continued to trail in hits, 58-38, and faceoff wins, 44-35.

Andrew Shaw thought he had scored about midway in double overtime, but the goal was waved off after review determined that he had head-butted the puck into the net- resulting in a direct, umm, heading motion that was not controlled by his stick, nor unintentional, hence it was an illegal goal. The second overtime then saw even more fatigue (although the fans were still loud and chanting “Let’s Go Ducks!”) and an ever increasingly tired writer, so I’m just going to skip to the third overtime, if you don’t mind.

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Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

At 16:12 of triple overtime, Marcus Kruger scored on a bit of a floppy play and subsequently celebrated with the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks after winning the longest game in franchise history. In all, Anaheim led the night in hits with 71 compared to Chicago’s 45, faceoff wins (59-53), and blocked shots (35-29). For the second game in a row, the team that had fewer shots on goal won the game.

Blackhawks defenseman, Duncan Keith, led time on ice totals for the night, spending nearly fifty minutes (49:51 to be exact) skating around. Kruger’s game winning goal was assisted by Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya.

It is assumed that after some much needed rest, neither team will really feel up to practicing much before Game 3, understandably. Likewise, for the disappointed Anaheim fans that went home unsatisfied and beaten for the first time on home ice in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a day off from work sounds pretty good right about now.

Statistically speaking, the team that wins Game 3 in any series is more likely to go on and win the entire series, so Ducks fans should be able to take comfort in knowing that it’s only a 1-1 series currently and there’s always Thursday night in Chicago to take back control. Likewise for the Blackhawks that means they’ll be looking to ride the momentum of this epic win.

Game 3 can be caught on NBCSN at 8 PM EST on Thursday, May 21st, 2015 live from the United Center in Chicago.

Duck Commander, Anaheim Rolls Along to 4-1 Win in Game 1

2015 Western Conference Finals Game 1 Recap

By: Nick Lanciani

UnknownIn front of a packed Honda Center the 2015 Western Conference Finals between the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks got underway with Game 1 on Sunday afternoon. The Ducks beat the Blackhawks 4-1 as Frederik Andersen picked up the win in a 32 save performance. Chicago’s, Corey Crawford, was dealt the loss despite his 24 saves on 27 shots on goal. Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm opened up the scoring in the series at 8:48 of the first period to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead, despite trailing in shots on goal for the entire period.

After a dominating first period without any results on the scoreboard to prove it, the Blackhawks had little to show in the second period for nineteen minutes of it. Anaheim continued to impress with their complete domination, a trend that they’ve held in their first nine Stanley Cup Playoff games played this year.

Kyle Palmieri put the Ducks up 2-0, with his first goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, assisted by Nate Thompshon at 4:17 of the 2nd period. Anaheim would then go about ten minutes without another shot on goal.

After Corey Perry’s lone penalty for the Ducks in the first period, Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson was sent to the box for tripping Jakub Silfverberg. Anaheim wasn’t able to capitalize on their first power play opportunity, despite recording two shots on goal in the duration of their man advantage.

Unknown-2At 19:20 of the 2nd period, Brad Richards stole the puck and fired home a wrist shot on Frederik Andersen, getting the Blackhawks on the board and trimming Anaheim’s lead in half. The score was then a close 2-1 game heading into intermission.

The third period saw more of the same. The Ducks were charging hard, while Andersen and a lack of puck luck kept denying the Blackhawks. Nate Thompson tacked on a goal for Anaheim to make it 3-1 with 7:55 remaining. Chicago pulled Crawford with about two minutes left in regulation, but the Ducks capitalized on a rare Jonathan Toews turnover that led to a Silfverberg empty net goal to make it 4-1.

With the win the Ducks improved to 6-0 at home during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs while the Blackhawks fell to 3-3 on the road. Anaheim leads the series 1-0 and looks to remain unbeatable on home ice in Game 2 as Chicago looks to ruin the party and hand the Ducks their first loss on home ice. Game 2 is on Tuesday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on NBCSN.