|Harveyborm||Data: Marti, 19.05.2015, 02:55:44 | Mesaj # 1|
|Here is one thing you never heard in the days leading up the Western Conference finals: You can only hope to contain Nate Thompson so long. |
Here is one thing you heard more than once in the days leading up to the Western Conference finals: Frederik Andersen is about to get buried by the Chicago Blackhawks.
In the hours after the Anaheim Ducks' 4-1 victory over the favored Blackhawks in Game 1 of the conference finals,Air Max here were two undeniable truths: The Ducks' third line of Thompson, Andrew Cogliano and Kyle Palmieri, a trio that had combined for three goals in the first nine games of the playoffs, saved the Ducks’ bacon, scoring twice, including the game winner, and dominating play on a day when Anaheim's superstars were muted.
And secondly, that there was any bacon left to be saved was a surprise given the sometimes breathtaking performance turned in by Andersen, who calmly stopped 32 of 33 shots as the Ducks ran their home record this spring to 6-0 and 9-1 overall.
In spite of their impressive record while sweeping the Winnipeg Jets and dispatching the Calgary Flames in five games there was -- again -- much skepticism about whether the Ducks were (a) for real and (b) ready to play with the big boys from Chicago, who are visiting the conference finals for the fifth time since 2009.
And while a series' identity is never truly revealed in the first game, the picture that began to come into focus Sunday afternoon in Anaheim is that these Ducks are indeed good enough to get away with being sloppy -- as sloppy as we've seen them this spring -- and they can get away without the big guns firing, and still beat a darned good hockey team.
“I thought we were a little sloppy in our own end and in the neutral zone a little bit in the first period,” said Thompson, who was a man on a mission with a goal and an assist. "But you’ve got to give them credit,Nike Free Günstig they were coming hard, they were coming fast. They’re the Chicago Blackhawks for a reason. They can skate, they can make plays. They’re a good hockey team."
Indeed, through the early part of Game 1, the Ducks were a turnover machine.
Perhaps it was a function of nerves, facing a team that has two Stanley Cup championships under its belt since 2010 and had a chance to win back-to-back titles last spring before it was knocked off in Game 7 at home, in overtime, by the Los Angeles Kings in the conference finals.
One turnover by captain Ryan Getzlaf in the first period left Chicago’s leading scorer, Patrick Kane, with a glorious chance, but Andersen somehow got the paddle of his stick on a Kane shot that seemed destined for the upper part of the net and deflected it out of play.
Nike Shox Günstig,"He picked up a loose puck and I didn’t really see how much time he had in the beginning,” Andersen explained afterward. "I played aggressive, but he was patient and tried to get me moving laterally. I knew I had to throw my stick over and take away as much of the net as I could. Luckily, he hit the stick."
It wasn't long after that the Ducks took a lead they would not relinquish when Hampus Lindholm ripped home a hard one-time snap shot.
Such are the moments on which games turn.
By the end of the first period, the Blackhawks had launched 16 shots on goal to just seven for the Ducks but still trailed 1-0. It marked the first time since Game 6 of the opening round against the Nashville Predators that the Blackhawks trailed in a game.
“Yeah, I thought we had a real good start to the game, but being down 1-0 after one was a tough spot to be in," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. "Hadn’t been behind in the last four games."
The Blackhawks had another chance to seize the moment, to turn the tide in a game in which they were the better of the two teams for long stretches, late in the second period.
Palmieri had given the Ducks a 2-0 lead early in the second period, netting his first of the playoffs off a rebound. But in the final minute of the middle frame, veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin coughed up the puck to former Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards, who raced in from the right and beat Andersen high to make it a one-goal game with 39.6 seconds left in the second.