Ducks Keep Focus on Game 6 Against Blackhawks
DUCKS at BLACKHAWKS
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Anaheim leads best-of-7 series 3-2
TONIGHT'S GAME: The Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks return to Chicago for Game 6 of the 2015 Western Conference Final against the Blackhawks tonight at the United Center (5 p.m. PDT, NBCSN/980 AM)...with 11 wins and three OT losses, the Ducks have tied an NHL record by going 14 consecutive games to start the playoffs without losing in regulation (the 1979 NY Rangers also with 11 wins and three OT losses)...Anaheim has extended its second-best start in franchise playoff history, trailing only the 12-2 Ducks in 2003...Anaheim started the postseason with a 9-1 record, marking the first time in club history that it had won 9-of-10 at any point in the playoffs...the Ducks have won six of their last eight Western Conference Final games dating to Game 4 of the WCF on May 17, 2007 vs. DET...the club is also 10-8 all-time in Western Conference Final contests...with their next appearance, both Ryan Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin will match Teemu Selanne for the all-time franchise lead in playoff appearances (96).
LAST ANAHEIM DUCKS GAME
2015 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL: GAME 5
MAY 25, 2015 - ANAHEIM 5 vs. CHICAGO 4 (OT)
Anaheim took a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference Final with a 5-4 overtime victory over Chicago at Honda Center...with 11 wins and three OT losses, the Ducks tied an NHL record by going 14 consecutive games to start the playoffs without losing in regulation (the 1979 New York Rangers also with 11 wins and three OT losses)...Matt Beleskey scored his first career overtime goal at 45 seconds of the extra frame, marking the second-fastest goal to begin an OT in franchise history...Ryan Getzlaf (2-17=19) established a franchise record for most points in a playoff campaign with his 19th of the 2015 postseason (14 games)...Getzlaf pushed his point/assist streak to five games (0-7=7), representing the NHL’s longest postseason assist streak since LA’s Jeff Carter from May 16-28, 2014 (six games, 5-7=12)...Cam Fowler, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Maroon and Sami Vatanen also scored for Anaheim.
PP: 0-2 PK: 0-2 SF: 28 SA: 28 TOI: Fowler (23:50) Three Stars: 1. Kesler 2. Vatanen 3. Teravainen
CHICAGO -- The Anaheim Ducks are one win away from advancing to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, but they're trying not to think about it heading into Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at United Center on Wednesday. It's no easy task. Even Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is fighting the urge to daydream a little. Prior to this season, Boudreau had never coached a team to the conference finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Anaheim finds itself on the verge of its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 2007 after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime to win Game 5 at Honda Center on Monday.
"Yeah, I mean, I give my head a shake sometimes," Boudreau said Tuesday before the Ducks traveled to Chicago. "It is close. Sometimes you don't realize. You say you're one game away [from] playing for the Stanley Cup. I try not to think about that. It's difficult, but you got to stay in the moment. You got to stay focused at what's at hand. If you start thinking ahead, usually bad things happen."
That's especially true for teams holding a 3-2 series lead against the Blackhawks.
Since the 2008-09 season, Chicago is 3-1 in Game 6s when facing elimination, all under coach Joel Quenneville.
"It's something we know we've done before," Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad said. "We know when we're in tight situations like this, we've got a veteran group that's been through it, and we know how to win games."
The Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the second round in 2013 on their way to winning the Cup. Chicago also won Game 6 of the first round in 2011 to force a Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks and did the same against the Los Angeles Kings in the conference final last season, but it lost each series. Quenneville was vague when asked if there would be any lineup changes. Prior to Game 3, he surprisingly scratched center Antoine Vermette and rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen.
The Blackhawks lost 2-1 in a defense-dominated game, and Quenneville took a lot of criticism. Quenneville said all options will be considered for Game 6, including the possibility of playing captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane on the same line.
They're usually split between the top two lines, with Toews centering the top group, but Quenneville puts them together occasionally for more offensive production. Chicago rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk might be in the lineup in favor of Kimmo Timonen or Kyle Cumiskey. Quenneville said van Riemsdyk, who hasn't played in the NHL since November because of injuries, will participate in the morning skate.
Boudreau kept his lineup thoughts to himself but gave goalie Frederik Andersen his backing. Andersen allowed all four Blackhawks goals in Game 5, including two late ones by Toews that sent it past regulation.
"That's something we even talked about going into overtime," Saad said. "We get two quick goals like that, we want to test him as much as possible. Unfortunately, it ended fairly quickly on their side, but that's something where momentum can carry over to a game and we want to keep testing him [Wednesday]."
Ducks Win a Thrilling Game 5
After Surrendering Late Lead
By Adam Brady - May 26, 2015
ANAHEIM – The Ducks have provided plenty of late-game thrills for their fans this season, and tonight they did it again in a game that never should have been this tense. After surrendering a two-goal lead to the visiting Blackhawks in the final two minutes of regulation, the Ducks bounced back to capture Game 5 on a Matt Beleskey goal just 45 seconds into overtime.
The 5-4 victory gave Anaheim a 3-games-to-2 lead over Chicago in the Western Conference Final and put the Ducks one win away from the franchise's third berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
The game-winner was teed up by Ducks center Ryan Kesler, who broke into the Chicago zone before firing a shot that caromed hard off Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, allowing Beleskey to punch in the rebound and nearly blow the roof off Honda Center.
"That’s the biggest goal I’ve ever scored," Beleskey said. "It’s a great feeling any time you do that, especially at home. We’re one game away from a Stanley Cup berth. It was a huge goal and it felt unbelievable."
The dogpile in the corner of the rink after that goal illustrated a mix of elation and relief for the Ducks, who appeared poised to cruise to the finish in this game until Jonathan Toews scored twice in a span of 1:12 to astonishingly send it to overtime. "We were mad coming in here," Kesler said in the celebratory Ducks locker room.
"When this team gets mad, we make strides on the ice. You can see right off the bat. We were mad, we played mad and we scored right away. Good game. We wanted to end it early and throw everything at them right away."
With the Chicago net empty for an extra attacker, the Blackhawks got within a goal with 1:50 left, as Toews hammered a one-timer from the left wing circle that hit a post before diving into the net. Not long afterward, with Hawks goalie Corey Crawford still on the bench, Toews tied it with 37.2 seconds left by throwing a shot from a bad angle near the extended goal line that somehow got under and behind goalie Frederik Andersen.
All the momentum seemed to belong to the Hawks until Kesler and Beleskey paired up to provide the heroics in the extra session.
"You’re playing elite teams that aren’t going to give up at any point," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "Giving up two late goals like that and being able to come back into our locker room, regroup and get behind each other, and make a big play like [Beleskey] did there, it means a lot to our team."
The Ducks had previously gone 2-3 in overtimes in this postseason, including a triple-OT Game 2 and a double-OT Game 4 in this series. Tonight showed few signs of going into extra time when the Ducks took a two-goal lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third. With the Ducks gripping desperately to a one-goal lead down the stretch, Sami Vatanen and Patrick Maroon provided much-needed insurance with 5:15 left.
Vatanen took a cross-ice feed from Getzlaf before making a pinpoint pass across the slot to a wide open Maroon, who banged it into the open left half of the net. With the assist, his second of the night, Getzlaf established a new franchise record for points in a postseason with 19. More importantly, he helped set up a goal that should have been enough to win it in regulation until Hawks captain Toews came to Chicago's rescue. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was asked what the message was in the locker room during the agonizing break between the third period and OT.
"We said it was our turn," he said. "Don’t be upset and hang your heads. Get angry. Get really mad because we [threw] it away a little bit. Just come back and do what you did in the first period. Things will work out."
The Ducks opened the scoring five minutes into the game when Cam Fowler walked into the high slot and slung a wrist shot that rattled home inside the right post. As that goal was being announced, Anaheim made it 2-0 when Jakob Silfverberg pounced on a Chicago giveaway and sent it toward the net, where Kesler got a stick on it and it bounced off the ice past Crawford. Vatanen made it 3-0 with 5:23 left in the period, rocketing a one-timer off a Getzlaf faceoff win under the leg pad of a clearly frustrated Crawford.
Meanwhile, the Ducks held Chicago without a shot on goal until the 3:40 mark in the first period and outshot them 11-3. But the Blackhawks came charging back to ultimately break even with Anaheim in the shots department, 28-28. The Blackhawks got one back in a hurry to start the second, on a transition off a Ducks turnover, as Teuvo Teravainen fired a shot from the slot that surprisingly got through Andersen (who didn't have his best night).
"He’s played so many good games in a row and he’s bailed us out so often," Boudreau said. "He had an unfortunate couple of goals against him today, and Freddie would be the first one to tell you he should’ve had them. It was time we bailed him out. He’ll be back to his normal, great self in two days. It was good to see that if he had a bad game we’d be able to help him out a little bit."
Chicago continued to force the issue and got within one with just 24.8 left in the period when Brent Seabrook snuck in a one-timer from the bottom of the right wing circle. It was the first of two times they would claw within a goal, and they finally tied it in the most improbable way.
"When you initially get in [the locker room], everyone is down, talking about giving up two goals in the last two minutes of the game," Getzlaf said. "It’s not fun for anybody, but the biggest thing we try to preach is to keep going. Keep doing what we’re doing and learn from our mistakes. We’ve had two overtime games against them that we’ve lost, and in those games we went into overtime trying not to lose. We went out there and executed what we wanted to do. We came up with a big play early on."
The Ducks can close out the series two nights from now in Game 6 at United Center in Chicago.