If you thought the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks looked tired after their first double-overtime game of the Western Conference Final, just wait. Both sides should be positively wiped after a hard-fought Game 4 that ended with a Blackhawks 5-4 win in double overtime.
The early stages of the game clearly belonged to the home team. Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith opened the game with a big hit, setting a testy tone that lingered throughout Game 4. Despite all of the dominant play early on, the Blackhawks didn't score until the final minute of the third. A referee's interference with a Ducks defender led to a Brandon Saad goal and a 1-0 Chicago lead.
Anaheim has built a reputation for getting better as games progress, and the same was true in Game 4. At one point in the second period, the Ducks had a 12-0 shot attempts run on the Blackhawks. And when Chicago captain Jonathan Toews took a penalty at 15:15, Anaheim had 12 CORSIs and nine shots on goal while the Blackhawks had none. That inevitably led to Emerson Etem's tip-in goal to tie the game in the final two minutes.
But Chicago was unbowed, continuing to push the pace in the third period. When a blocked shot fell to his stick at the side of the Anaheim net, Toews patiently waited for goalie Frederik Andersen to sprawl before potting the go-ahead goal, followed shortly by Brent Seabrook scoring to make it a 3-1 game.
Which was all fine and dandy until the Ducks scored THREE GOALS IN 37 SECONDS to take the lead.
As amazing as that comeback was, Patrick Kane tied it up shortly thereafter with his second goal of the series. That led to the second multiple-overtime game of the series, which was finally ended when Antoine Vermette scored in the second overtime to give Chicago a 5-4 win and even the series at 2-2.
3 things we learned
1. Chicago can't take advantage of a strong start
The Blackhawks sent the Madhouse on Madison into a frenzy for the first ten minutes of the game, dominating possession and chances for a long stretch of the first period. All that excitement led to nothing on the scoreboard, a missed opportunity that loomed larger as the game progressed and the Ducks gained strength.
2. But their lineup additions paid off
Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette don't jump off the screen as difference makers, but coach Joel Quenneville's decision to dress them helped his team win Game 4. Vermette's skills on the dot helped Chicago win 48 faceoffs, tipping the scales in his team's favor ever so slightly. And Teravainen, a rookie, was particularly active early in the game with a few scoring chances. Oh, and Vermette scored the game-winner in the second overtime. So good decision, Coach Q!
3. Both sides showed resilience
Nobody would've been surprised if the Ducks packed it in after Seabrook's goal to make it 3-1. Instead, they roared back with the best sequence of the playoffs, ripping off three goals in 37 seconds to take the lead. And for many teams, blowing a lead in that fashion would be completely demoralizing. But Chicago quickly bounced back to tie things up again and send it to overtime. It was a brilliant display of why these two teams are battling for a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.