NHL Western Conference Finals Game Six: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals Game #6
#1 Anaheim Ducks at #3 Chicago Blackhawks
Ducks Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2

United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: Chicago -145 / Anaheim +125
Current Line: Chicago -145 / Anaheim +125
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: over 5 -140 / under 5 +120

Chicago looks to force a game seven against Anaheim Wednesday night at the United Center.
Chicago looks to force a game seven against Anaheim Wednesday night at the United Center.

The Anaheim Ducks are one win away from returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since winning the Cup in 2007. Anaheim won in overtime Monday at home in game five of the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game Six is Wednesday night in Chicago. The Blackhawks look to force a game seven Saturday in Anaheim.

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.

This has been quite the exciting series. Anaheim won the first game 4-1 at home. Every other game in the series has been decided by one goal with three overtime games. In each of the overtime games, the winning team has blown at least a two goal lead, before winning in overtime. Chicago won 3-2 in game two in triple overtime. Anaheim won game three in Chicago 2-1. The Blackhawks tied the series in game four with a 5-4 double overtime win. Anaheim then won game five at home 5-4 in overtime Monday night to put Chicago on the brink of elimination.

Anaheim scored three goals in the first period of game five Monday. Cam Fowler opened the scoring five minutes into the game assisted by Nate Thompson and Andrew Cogliano. Ryan Kesler scored 30 seconds later, assisted by Jakob Silfverberg and Francois Beauchemin. Sami Vatanen scored with just over 5 minutes left in the first, assisted by Ryan Getzlaf to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead. The Ducks outshot the Blackhawks 11-3 in the period.

In the second period, Chicago dominated the play with 13 shots to 5 for Anaheim. Teuvo Teravainen scored for the Blackhawks a minute into the second, assisted by Antoine Vermette and Patrick Sharp. Brent Seabrook made it 3-2 with less than a minute left in the period, assisted by Teravainen and Sharp.

Chicago controlled the third as well with 12 shots to 8 for Anaheim. The Ducks went up 4-2 with just over 5 minutes to go in the third on a goal from Patrick Maroon, assisted by Vatenen and Getzlaf. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews made it 4-3 with less than two minutes left, assisted by Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith. Toews tied it up with 37 seconds left, assisted by Andrew Shaw and Seabrook. The Honda Center crowd was shocked into silence. The Ducks players and coaches appeared to be reeling as they headed back to the locker room for intermission before overtime.

Matt Beleskey scored the game winner for Anaheim just 45 seconds into the first overtime, assisted by Ryan Kesler and Silfverberg. It was the first overtime loss for Chicago in the playoffs, as they had been 4-0 in such games.

Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen made 24 saves on 28 shots, but each of the goals he gave up were widely considered to be soft goals. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 23 saves on 28 shots. Both teams were 0/2 on the power play. Anaheim had 41 hits to 23 for Chicago. Each team had 19 turnovers. Anaheim won 39 faceoffs to 26 for Chicago.

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Chicago is outscoring teams 3.07-3.00. The Blackhawks are #3 in scoring in the playoffs but #12 in goals allowed. Chicago is 8/44 (18.2%) on the power play and 34/44 (77.3%) on the penalty kill. Chicago has 3 short handed goals and hasn’t allowed any. The Blackhawks average 33.7 shots per game and opponents average 37.2 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 every game since. Crawford is 7-4 in the playoffs with 2.57 GAA. He has a save percentage of .917 with one shutout. Darling is 3-1 with a 2.22 GAA. He has a save percentage of .936.

Patrick Kane has 9 goals and 6 assists. Jonathan Toews has 7 goals and 9 assists. Duncan Keith has 2 goals and 11 assists. Patrick Sharp has 4 goals and 8 assists. Marian Hossa has 2 goals and 9 assists. Brad Richards has 2 goals and 6 assists. Three other players have at least 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 3.71-2.29 in the playoffs.  Anaheim is 10/40 (25%) on the power play and 41/51 (86%) on the penalty kill. The Ducks are #2 in power play percentage and #4 in penalty killing. Anaheim has allowed two short handed goals. The Ducks average 35.6 shots per game and allow 30.3 per game.

Andersen is 11-3 in the playoffs with a 2.05 GAA. He has a save percentage of .925 with one shutout.

Corey Perry has 9 goals and 8 assists. Ryan Getzlaf has 2 goals and 17 assists. Jakob Silfverberg has 4 goals and 12 assists. Ryan Kesler has 6 goals and 6 assists. Hampus Lindholm has 2 goals and 7 assists. Sami Vatanen has 3 goals and 7 assists. Six other players have at least seven points in the playoffs.

Anaheim is 8-2 in road games, 11-3 against teams with winning records, 6-2 in in conference finals games, 39-13 after scoring 5 goals or more and against Western Conference teams, 40-16 against Central teams, 85-38 after a win, 48-23 overall, and 35-17 on one day rest. The Ducks are 5-2 in their last seven games in Chicago.

Chicago is 20-6 after allowing 5 goals or more, 6-2 on one day rest, 7-3 against Pacific teams, overall and against Western Conference teams, and 92-41 at home. The under is 19-7-2 in this series recently and 10-2 in Chicago between the teams.

Neither goalie has been spectacular in this series, but have shown flashes of brilliance. THis series deserves to go seven because almost every game has come down to the wire. I think the Blackhawks win at home to force game seven Saturday.

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