After a marathon game that last almost 6 periods, the Chicago Blackhawks were lucky that they walked away with the game, won by a triple OT goal.
The game went into the third overtime lasting four hours and 53 minutes after the first puck had dropped. The winning goal, was wristed by defenceman Brent Seabrook in the direction of the Anaheim net but with a little luck hit team mate, centre Marcus Kruger’s stick and dropped into the crease, where he was able shovele it in behind Andersen, to put to rest the longest game in Blackhawks’ 89-year history. Their 3-2 win evened the best-of-seven Western Conference final. Now 38 very tired NHL players boarded their planes for Chicago, where Game 3 will take place Thursday.
Game 2 had so many amazing saves, wasted scoring chances, missed nets and hit crossbars that it’s hard to recount them all. The goalies were sensational, Corey Crawford made 60 saves of Anaheim’s 62 shots and Andersen stopped 53 of 56 shots made by the Hawks.
“After the first two goals, they didn’t score for five periods. I thought we did a pretty good job,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “What can you say. We had the puck on our stick a number of times. Sometimes it just goes the other team’s way.”
The Ducks definitely had a lot more chances which they weren’t able to capitalize on. Two third period power plays weren’t effective, they barely generated a dangerous shot on either of them. Two shots hit the crossbars in the first overtime, one by Corey Perry the other by Sami Vatanen. Both goaltenders left the opposition and fans speechless, and kept the sports commentators asking “How did that one stay out?”
In regulation, the Ducks outshot the Blackhawks 17-1 in the final 12:48 of the second, and the relentless pressure finally paid off in a tying goal, after a long shift in the Chicago end, with Perry tipping a knee-high Ryan Getzlaf shot past Crawford at 17:30 of the period. After that, it wasn’t until 11:08 p.m. Eastern time, 2:08 a.m. Pacific, that another goal was scored. The three OT periods played between Perry’s goal and Kruger’s was pure playoff magic, including Andrew Shaw’s now infamous disallowed header.
“Maybe the Premier League’s going to be scouting me.” – Andrew Shaw
All those pre-game soccer contests hockey players warm up with almost paid off. Almost, but not quite since a player can’t kick the puck into the net and, to the Blackhawks dismay, you can’t head it in, either. Chicago’s Shaw did, head butting home a high flying puck at 8:47 of the second overtime period which was an amazing bit of improvisation. Everyone else was entangled in front of Anaheim goalie’s Andersen net, only to watch Shaw gracefully header it in. The goal was disallowed after review, but it’s not a rule many knew or has been used before. The NHL Situation Room in Toronto did. Rule 78.5 (i) states: “Apparent goals shall be disallowed when the puck has been directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick.”
“Yeah, I understand, but I think if anyone can ever pull that off it should still be a goal,” Shaw said post-game to media. “And you know everyone is always telling you to use your head when you’re out there, so I guess I just went and did that. Maybe the Premier League’s going to be scouting me.”
“Some of us thought it was over. Some of us thought it was going to be (called) back,” said Chicago forward Patrick Sharp of the goal. “That was a heck of a play. I’m not sure why that’s not allowed. I know it’s in the rule book but that’s a pretty athletic play and a pretty entertaining play, as well. It was a nice play by Shawzie. We thought maybe that was it, but you just regroup. It’s much like the series. You take the next game, the next battle as it comes.”
“That’s going to take the wind out of their sails, definitely,” said Hawks winger Bryan Bickell. “Now, we need to back it up in Chicago. We’ve got the momentum, (though) it doesn’t feel like we do, because I’m really tired.”
Chicago, who only played four defencemen, played them to the point of exhaustion, including Duncan Keith, who played just a few minutes short of 50. Quenville was able to milk amazing performances out of his team, even if at the end their tongues were hanging out. Can Chicago do it again? Probably not with so much expectation at home, look for the Ducks to get one back from the Hawks.