The Anaheim Ducks carried their impressive playoff record into one of the toughest buildings in the NHL and exited with a 2-1 series win. With a 2-1 win in Game 3 on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Ducks took control of the Western Conference Final.
Any notion fatigue would play a factor after Tuesday's three-overtime Game 2 was momentarily dispensed of. Both sides skated smoothly but not without mistakes, as four power plays were gained in the first period alone. Anaheim scored on the man advantage at 12:55 when Patrick Maroon deflected a shot past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.
Patrick Kane answered soon after with his eighth goal of the playoffs to tie the game at 1-1, but the draw would not last. A second period full of scoring chances ended with a go-ahead goal by Ducks defenseman Simon Despres, giving Anaheim a 2-1 lead.
By the time the final frame began, the effects of the Game 2 marathon were starting to sink in as the pace of play began lagging. Chicago couldn't muster enough offensive potency to tie the game again, and Anaheim escaped with a 2-1 win and a 2-1 series lead.
3 things we learned
1. Corey Perry continues his Conn Smythe ways
Perry has spent most of the spring terrorizing opposing netminders in front of the net and scoring in dirty areas. Rare is the playoff game that Perry doesn't score off a tip-in while screening the goalie. His pestering ways resulted in Maroon's oopening goal and Despres' go-ahead goal in the second.
2. Simon Despres is paying off
Pittsburgh sending their young offensive defenseman to the Ducks for Ben Lovejoy in the final hours of deadline day was a head-scratcher at the time. It still is. With his second-period goal in Game 3, Despres is tied for third in defenseman playoff points with seven. Oh, and he made the crucial play to break up Kane's last-second scoring chance in the third period. He's good. The Penguins should be kicking themselves.
3. Patrick Kane snapped his slump
Okay, "slump" is a relative term. But it had been two whole playoff games since Kane had scored, which must have seemed like ages for the Blackhawks star. He got back on track with aplomb, firing a spinning backhand shot past Frederik Andersen for Chicago's first goal of the game.