2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals Game #4
#1 Anaheim Ducks at #3 Chicago Blackhawks
Ducks Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, May 23, 2015, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Chicago -150 / Anaheim +130
Current Line: Chicago -145 / Anaheim +125
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: over 5 -130 / under 5 +110
The Anaheim Ducks have won two of the first three games in the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Ducks can take a 3-1 series lead against the Blackhawks with a win Saturday in game four in Chicago. The Blackhawks look to even it up and make it a best of three series.
Chicago, coached by Joel Quenneville, finished third in the Central Division with 102 points. The Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators in six games in the first round, and swept the Minnesota Wild in four games in the conference semifinals.
Anaheim, coached by Bruce Boudreau, won the Pacific Division with 109 points, and had the best record in the Western Conference. The Ducks swept the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and beat the Calgary Flames in five games in the semifinals.
In game one of this series, Anaheim won 4-1 at home. Chicago tied the series in game two with a 3-2 win in triple overtime. The series shifted to Chicago for game three Thursday.
Anaheim scored first thirteen minutes into the first on a power play goal from Patrick Maroon, assisted by Hampus Lindholm and Ryan Getzlaf. Chicago tied it up with less than a minute left in the first on a goal from Patrick Kane, assisted by Brad Richards and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Simon Despres scored what would prove to be the game winner with less than a minute left in the second period, assisted by Getzlaf and Cam Fowler. Chicago would outshoot Anaheim 10-5 in the third but couldn’t get the tying goal past Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen. Kane hit the post as time expired.
Andersen made 27 saves on 28 shots. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 25 saves on 27 shots. Anaheim converted their only power play chance, but Chicago was 0 for 5. Anaheim had 45 hits to 27 for Chicago. The Ducks had 16 turnovers to 17 for the Blackhawks. Chicago won 35 faceoffs to 33 for Anaheim.
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Chicago is outscoring teams 2.85-2.77. The Blackhawks are #3 in scoring in the playoffs but #12 in goals allowed. Chicago is 7/38 (18.4%) on the power play and 30/40 (75%) on the penalty kill. Chicago has 2 short handed goals and hasn’t allowed any. The Blackhawks average 33.7 shots per game and opponents average 36.8 per game.
Chicago has used 2 goalies in the playoffs. Crawford struggled against Nashville in the first round and was benched in favor of Scott Darling for four games in that series. Darling struggled too, and Crawford has started the last six games in net. Crawford is 6-3 in the playoffs with 2.29 GAA. He has a save percentage of .925 with one shutout. Darling is 3-1 with a 2.22 GAA. He has a save percentage of .936. Crawford will start, but could be on a short leash if he struggles again like in game one.
Patrick Kane has 8 goals and 6 assists. Jonathan Toews has 4 goals and 8 assists. Duncan Keith has 2 goals and 9 assists. Patrick Sharp has 4 goals and 5 assists. Marian Hossa has 2 goals and 7 assists. Brad Richards has 2 goals and 5 assists. Three other players have 6 points in the playoffs. Defenseman Michal Rozival is out for the season with an ankle injury. Chicago was using only 4 defensemen, but called up a couple of players from the minors for help on the blue line.
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Anaheim is outscoring teams 3.58-1.92 in the playoffs. The Ducks are first in both categories among the 16 playoff teams. Anaheim is 10/36 (27.8%) on the power play and 38/44 (86.4%) on the penalty kill. The Ducks are #2 in power play percentage and #4 in penalty killing. Anaheim has allowed one short handed goal. The Ducks average 35 shots per game and allow 29.7 per game.
Andersen is 10-2 in the playoffs with a 1.75 GAA. He has a save percentage of .935 with one shutout.
Corey Perry has 8 goals and 8 assists. Ryan Getzlaf has 2 goals and 14 assists. Jakob Silfverberg has 4 goals and 9 assists. Ryan Kesler has 4 goals and 5 assists. Hampus Lindholm has 2 goals and 7 assists. Sami Vatanen has 2 goals and 6 assists. Six other players have at least six points in the playoffs.
Anaheim is 4-0 after scoring 2 goals or less, 8-1 in road games, 5-1 in conference finals games, 13-3 against teams with winning records, 22-6 in Saturday games, 7-2 after allowing 2 goals or less, 38-13 against Western Conference teams, 39-15 against Central teams, 28-11 on one day rest, 85-37 after a win, and 47-22 overall. The road team is 6-1 in this series recently. The Ducks have won 5 of their last 6 games in Chicago.
Chicago is 5-0 after scoring 2 goals or less, 5-1 on one day rest, 6-2 overall, against Pacific Division teams and against Western Conference teams, and 91-41 at home. The under is 19-5-2 in this series recently, and 10-1 in Chicago in the series recently.
This will likely be another low scoring game. Chicago needs this game to avoid a 3-1 series hole. I think the lack of depth could catch up with them the longer this series goes on. Anaheim could very well win this game, but I think the Blackhawks pull it out.
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