Thanks to two late goals by Andrew Shaw, the Chicago Blackhawks forced a Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks as they secured a 5-2 victory on Wednesday night at the United Center.
The game off to a bit of a slow start for both teams, with the Blackhawks once again struggling to get shots on goal and the Ducks having difficulty taking care of the puck in the defensive zone. Both teams ended up getting power play opportunities, but in spite of chances from Corey Perry and Patrick Kane in the man-advantage situations, neither team could score.
In the closing minutes of the period, the Blackhawks seemed to get their legs underneath them a bit more, and they had some quality chances on goal. Brandon Saad made a great steal off of Ryan Getzlaf on the boards, and Frederik Andersen had to make a huge save on the goal line to kick the puck out of the crease.
After that, the Blackhawks’ third line came up with some sustained pressure, but once again they couldn’t get the job done. Patrick Sharp had a good shot on goal on a rush, and Teuvo Teravainen was denied on a rebound chance as the game remained scoreless through 20 minutes of play.
The Blackhawks failed to score on a power play early in the second period, but they finally got on the board when things returned to even strength. After a Duncan Keith pass up the middle was tapped forward by Patrick Kane, Saad collected the puck and scored on the ensuing breakaway to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later, the Blackhawks scored again. Keith made another play happen in this sequence, pinching in from the blue line and getting the puck in between the face-off circles. After faking two shots, he fired a pass to a wide open Marian Hossa, who ripped home a one-timer to make it a 2-0 contest.
Keith wasn’t done yet however, and he picked up yet another assist to stretch the lead out again. He grabbed a Ducks clearing attempt at the blue line to keep a possession alive, and Kane did the rest as he took a pass, skated through the middle of the zone, and squeezed a shot in between Andersen’s pads to extend the Hawks’ lead to three goals.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Ducks made a good play to seize some of the momentum back. With Brad Richards in the penalty box on a hooking penalty, the Ducks won a face-off and got a goal when Cam Fowler’s shot was deflected toward the net by Patrick Maroon, and it evaded Corey Crawford as the deficit was narrowed to 3-1 after two periods of play.
Just two minutes into the third period, the Ducks scored to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to just one goal. Clayton Stoner hammered a slap shot toward the net, and with Jakob Silfverberg skating across the ice and making contact with Crawford’s glove, it evaded the goaltender and made it a 3-2 game.
The Ducks got a couple more quality scoring chances, including another Maroon deflection that Crawford was able to stop, but it was Chicago that ultimately scored the next goal and secured the key insurance goal. On a rush back the other way, Andrew Desjardins feathered a pass across the ice, and Andrew Shaw was able to lift a wrist shot over Andersen’s shoulder and make it a 4-2 game with about five minutes to go.
The Hawks added another insurance goal late as Shaw got a loose puck in the neutral zone and hammered home a shot into the empty net, and the victory secures a Game 7 on Saturday night in Anaheim.
That game will see puck drop at 7 p.m. local time, and the game will air on NBC.