The Chicago Blackhawks went into Anaheim and took the game from the Ducks.
ESPN is reporting that the Blackhawks won Game 7 of the NHL Western Conference Finals, 5-3, in Anaheim to go the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2013, when the Blackhawks won it all. The Ducks, favored to win the Conference title, will go home and try to figure out how the Blackhawks took the game away from them at home.
Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews set the tone for the game, scoring two goals. Right winger Patrick Kane chipped in with three assists. The Blackhawks took control of the game early, and though the Ducks scored three goals to try to get back in the game, it was too little, too late.
Toews scored his two goals very early in the game, rallying the Blackhawks. Goalie Corey Crawford made 35 saves on 38 shots in an impressive effort. Brendan Saad, Marian Hossa, and Brent Seabrook also scored for the Blackhawks. By the halfway point in the second period, the Blackhawks were comfortably ahead 4-0.
Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, and Matt Belesky scored goals each for the Ducks, with goalie Frederic Andersen making 21 saves on 26 shots. The Ducks have now lost a Game 7 for the third consecutive year.
According to the Chicago Tribune, when the Blackhawks lead a game after two periods, their record is 32-0-0. They are also 9-1 when scoring first and being outshot during the playoffs.
“Our team’s approach in big games is always in the right place,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said before Saturday’s game. “We had a meeting this morning. The focus was in the proper places. You know they’re going to be excited.”
The Blackhawks, under Quenneville, are 3-4 in Game sevens. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, in contrast, is 1-6 in Game sevens, including the three Game sevens with the Ducks. Both the Ducks and Blackhawks lost in Game sevens in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Ducks in the second round and the Blackhawks in the Conference Final to the eventual 2014 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
The Blackhawks now prepare to meet the Tampa Bay Lightning, who themselves dispatched the New York Ranger 2-0 in a Game seven. The Stanley Cup Finals begin in Tampa Bay starting Wednesday, June 3.
Toews is leading the Blackhawks into the Stanley Cup Finals on fire. His two goals give him 9 for the playoffs, while scoring 18 total points in the playoffs. The Blackhawks will try to add their third Stanley Cup in six years. They have won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2010.
[Image courtesy of Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune]