The 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs roll on. For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will go to a deciding Game 7. On Wednesday night, May 27, 2015, the Chicago Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd period, en route to as 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 22,089 at United Center in Chicago. The Game 7 showdown will be played on Saturday night, May 30 at Honda Center in Anaheim. The Chicago victory comes just one day after the New York Rangers defeated Tampa Bay by a score of 7-3 to force a Friday night Game 7 showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The game between Chicago and Anaheim was scoreless until Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith triggered a three-goal outburst in the 2nd period. First, Keith fired a stretch pass to Patrick Kane in the neutral zone. Kane gave the biscuit to Brandon Saad who had a partial breakaway and scored the game’s first goal at 8:23. As it turned out, Keith was just getting started. Just minutes later, the two-time Norris trophy-winning blueliner found Marian Hossa, on a nice cross ice feed in the Anaheim zone. The result was a goal from Hossa at 10:41. Later, Keith found himself in possession of the puck, just inside the Anaheim zone. He fed the puck to Patrick Kane who was waiting along the boards. Kane then used his unparalleled puckhandling ability, to work his way through to the middle of the ice, where he then faked and juked his way into a great shooting position, and put the puck into the Anaheim net at 12:08. After the Kane goal, for all intents and purposes, the game was over.
Chicago gained the 3-0 lead by scoring three goals in a span of just 3:45. Keith assisted on all three goals; the goals came on successive shots. Anaheim forward Patrick Maroon then tipped in a power play goal at 14:13 to cut the lead to 3-1. After two periods, shots on goal were tied at 19 apiece, but Chicago held a 3-1 lead. Anaheim made things interesting, when defenseman Clayton Stoner scored on a slapshot from the blueline just 1:57 into the 3rd period. It appeared as though Anaheim forward Jakob Silfverberg had disturbed the catching glove of Chicago netminder Corey Crawford, while the shot from Stoner was still airborne. The home team screamed for a goaltender interfertence call, but to no avail as the lead was narrowed to 3-2.
The Ducks did control play in the 3rd period, but were unable to get another puck past Crawford, though they outshot the home team 13-4 in the final stanza. Chicago center Andrew Shaw scored an insurance goal at 16:28, and added an empty-net goal at 19:11.
Series notes – Duncan Keith now leads all NHL defenseman, with 16 postseason points. Keith also has a +11 plus/minus rating, which leads the entire NHL in that category. Chicago defenseman Kimmo Timonen was scratched from the lineup, in favor of David Rundblad. In the last two games, Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen has given up eight goals on 50 shots. Over the course of the six games played so far, each team have scored 19 goals.
Final score: CHI 5, ANA 2. Final shots on goal: ANA 32, CHI 23. Power play: ANA 1-3, CHI 0-3. Three Stars of the game: #1) Duncan Keith – CHI, #2) Patrick Kane – CHI, #3) Brandon Saad – CHI.
ANA Forward line combinations:
CHI Forward line combinations: