Ducks’ Andersen uses foot to stop Hawks’ Saad from scoring

Chicago's Brandon Saad and Anaheim's Ryan Kesler chase the puck in front of goalie Frederik Andersen as Jonathan Toews follows behind in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final Wednesday. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks came out of the gate strongly in Game 6 of their Western Conference Final series against Anaheim, challenging Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen a number of times early in the first period. And they came within a hair’s breadth – well, maybe a toe or two – of scoring the first goal Wednesday, only to have Andersen rob winger Brandon Saad with his foot.

The teams were nearing the halfway mark of the opening frame still looking for the first lead of the night when Saad broke in on Andersen with the puck; Andersen kicks out his left leg, barely getting enough of his foot on the puck to stop it from going in: Read more

Five keys for the Blackhawks heading into crucial Game 6

Jared Clinton
Hawks winger Patrick Kane celebrates with teammates Brad Richards and Duncan Keith. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

For the second straight season, the Chicago Blackhawks are heading into a must-win Game 6 in the Western Conference finals.

Unlike last season, however, they’re heading home and not desperately clawing back from a 3-1 series deficit, but the importance of Wednesday night’s game remains the same: win and the season continues, lose and get ready for a rocky off-season that could likely spell the end of this dominant Chicago team.

Through the first five games of the series, the Blackhawks have been hard to read. There have been moments where they looked every bit the unstoppable force that many believed them to be. Other times, Chicago has looked panicked and shaky in their own zone, left chasing Anaheim Ducks players around the defensive zone and hoping for a stoppage in play.

Heading into Game 6, the Blackhawks would be foolish to expect anything short of perfection to be enough to force a seventh and deciding game. As such, these are the five things Chicago needs to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive: Read more

Blackhawks starting to resemble the Penguins – and that’s not a compliment

Kane & Toews (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks face elimination on home ice Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks. And, if the Hawks hold their ground at the United Center, they’ll play another do-or-die affair Saturday night in Orange County.

Whatever happens to Chicago over the next game or two games, good or bad, there’s a creeping sense we’re witnessing the end of something. I can’t help but wonder if this team’s immediate future will increasingly mirror that of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have advanced to round 3, then round 2 and finally round 1 over the past three post-seasons.

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Blackhawks could insert Trevor van Riemsdyk into lineup for Game 6

Jared Clinton
Trevor van Riemsdyk (Bill Smith/Getty Images)

As the Chicago Blackhawks prepare to head into a must-win Game 6 against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference final, there are still questions about who will be lining up on the backend for Chicago.

The Blackhawks have tried Kyle Cumiskey and David Rundblad to fill the hole left by Michal Rozsival – and Kimmo Timonen has gotten his 10-or-less minutes per game – but there could be a new face on the blueline come Wednesday night’s crucial tilt: Trevor van Riemsdyk. Read more

The five fastest overtime goals in NHL post-season history

Alex Burrows (Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated)

Once it got to overtime, few expected Monday evening’s contest between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks to go anything less than one full overtime period. Shockingly, however, it was over almost as soon as it started – 45 seconds in, Matt Beleskey had won the game.

The series had already seen double- and triple-overtime contests, so Game 5 had that special “Here we go again” feel to it. That wasn’t the case, though.

While Beleskey’s tally was a quick strike that left some fans waiting to get back to their seats in time to catch the overtime and some watching at home hearing the contest end from in front of the refrigerator, it’s far from the quickest overtime-winner in NHL playoff history. All-time, it ranks as the 33rd fastest overtime marker and it’s not even the quickest this post-season.

Here are the five fastest overtime winners: Read more

Watch Matt Beleskey’s opening-minute overtime tally to give Ducks 3-2 series lead

Matt Beleskey (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

When overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference final began Monday evening, the average bet on how long overtime was going to last likely would have been in the two- to three-overtime range. After all, twice the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks had gone to at least double overtime and it appeared we were in for another marathon in Game 5.

So it was almost more surprising than Jonathan Toews‘ late-game contest-tying heroics that overtime didn’t make it out of the first minute. What started with a turnover at the Anaheim blueline by Bryan Bickell ended with Matt Beleskey sealing the deal — and the incredibly important series lead — for the Ducks. Read more

Ducks strike early, survive collapse late in regulation to beat Hawks in OT, take 3-2 series lead

Anaheim's Matt Beleskey celebrates scoring the game winning overtime goal Monday in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

In what has been a magnificent marathon of a Western Conference Final, the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have been more or less each other’s equal. Through the first four games of the series, neither team was able to win two in a row, three contests were one-goal games, and two games led to 11 total periods of hockey. In a strange way, that was the case Monday night for Game 5 as well, with some solid and awful play from both sides – but by the time Ducks winger Matt Beleskey scored 45 seconds into the fourth period of hockey, it was clear Chicago was a little more depleted and a little less deep than Anaheim where they need to be.

And for that reason, the Ducks hold a 3-2 series lead after their 5-4 overtime victory at Honda Center. Read more

Watch Jonathan Toews tie Game 5 from an impossible angle with 38 seconds left in regulation

Jonathan Toews (Harry How/Getty Images)

Jonathan Toews’ playoff exploits need no embellishment to impress even the most casual hockey fan. And once again – this time, with just 38 seconds left in regulation time in Game 5 Monday – the Chicago Blackhawks superstar center showed he lives for this time of year by scoring twice in the final two minutes of regulation to send the game to overtime.

Game 5 looked to be a lost cause for the Hawks after Patrick Maroon scored at 14:45 of the third to make it 4-2 Anaheim, but Toews brought the visiting team to within a goal when he scored his sixth of the playoffs at 18:10. And 72 seconds later, Toews scored at a virtually impossible angle at the 19:22 mark to tie things up: Read more