In the longest game in Chicago Blackhawks history, Marcus Kruger's goal in triple overtime lifted the team to a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.
The victory ties the series up at 1-1 as the scene shifts back to Chicago for Game 3. Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw each scored goals, and Corey Crawford made 60 saves as the Hawks knotted the series.
For the second consecutive game, the Blackhawks got an early first period power play, but this time they were able to capitalize to take the early lead. Duncan Keith got the puck at the point after a quick cycle around the zone by the Blackhawks, and his shot was deflected by Andrew Shaw to beat Frederik Andersen and give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks got another power play a few minutes later thanks to a Clayton Stoner infraction, and they scored again to take a 2-0 lead. On an odd play, Brad Richards fired a shot toward the net, and even though Marian Hossa deflected it just short of the goal line and seemed to push it back out of the cage, a Ducks defenseman slid into it and knocked it into the net to extend Chicago’s lead.
Undaunted, the Ducks pushed back really hard after the second Chicago goal, and they got the benefit of a lucky bounce to cut the Hawks’ lead to one. Andrew Cogliano stuck his skate out as a shot headed toward the Chicago net, and after the puck bounced off of Corey Crawford and Bryan Bickell, it slowly rolled across the goal line to make it a 2-1 game.
The Ducks continued to hammer away over the final few minutes of the period, with their fourth line generating some sterling chances and Ryan Getzlaf hammering a slap shot off of the crossbar. None of their shots found their way into the back of the net however, and Chicago held onto their lead after 20 minutes of action.
The Blackhawks ratcheted up the pressure early in the second period, but after the first few minutes it was all Anaheim. Ryan Kesler stole a puck from Johnny Oduya and fired in a quick shot, but Crawford made the save. Andrew Cogliano then had an opportunity that bounced off of Crawford and nearly deflected in off of Oduya, but the goaltender was able to smother it and keep the game tied.
With about two minutes remaining in the period, the Ducks finally capitalized on their pressure and tied the game up. Ryan Getzlaf got to a loose puck at the top of the face-off circle, and his shot was deflected in by Corey Perry to tie things up at 2-2.
By the time the second period came to an end, the Ducks had outshot the Blackhawks by a 17-1 margin over the final 13 minutes of play, but the game remained tied with one period to go.
The Blackhawks got an early 5-on-3 power play in the third period as Ryan Getzlaf was sent to the box, but they were unable to convert as couldn’t muster much offense. Patrick Kane then gave the Ducks a power play of their own shortly thereafter, but the Hawks’ penalty kill stood tall again and kept the game tied.
Over the final minutes of regulation, the Ducks got another power play thanks to a Marcus Kruger penalty for holding, but the Blackhawks once again killed it off. Brandon Saad did some great work to finish off the kill, and the game headed to overtime with both teams seeking to make a serious mark in the series.
The overtime period saw several good chances for both teams, but neither could convert as the game was forced into a second extra stanza. The Ducks had a power play thanks to a careless Niklas Hjalmarsson penalty, but the Hawks’ penalty kill was once again stout. Two other Anaheim shots found iron in the period as well, with Perry and Sami Vatanen each ringing shots off the post. No shot would go however, and the game headed to a second overtime.
That second overtime also came and went without a goal going on the board, but not without some drama unfolding. The Blackhawks got a power play thanks to a too many men penalty on Anaheim, and it appeared they had won the game when Andrew Shaw hit a puck into the net, but it was ultimately waved off, as Shaw illegally head-butted the puck into the cage.
The Ducks got several more scoring opportunities of their own over the course of the final minutes, with Vatanen once again ringing a shot off the post, but nothing would get past Crawford as the game headed to triple overtime.
It appeared as though the game would go to a fourth overtime as it neared the end of the frame, but the Blackhawks had other ideas. Brent Seabrook rifled in a shot from the point that ended up hitting Marcus Kruger, but the Swedish forward picked up the loose puck and flipped it past Andersen to give the Hawks the victory and tie the series.
The Blackhawks will look to defend home ice when the series resumes at the United Center Thursday night. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m.