Ducks vs. Blackhawks recap: What you need to know about Game 4
The Chicago Blackhawks scored a dramatic double-OT victory in Game 4 to even the series with the Anaheim Ducks. Here's what you need to know.
Blackhawks 5, Ducks 4 (2 OT) | Series tied 2-2 | Game 5 Monday
Game 4 in a nutshell: Everything that happened before the third period may as well have not happened. Each team scored three times in third, including three in 37 seconds from Anaheim, and Game 4 needed overtime to decide it. Then it needed a second overtime, which is when Antoine Vermette ended it to tie the series for Chicago.
Turning point: The third period happened. We may never see a crazier period of hockey for the rest of our lives. The Chicago Blackhawks opened up a 3-1 lead after scoring twice in the first 7:38 of the third stanza. It seemed like that would be the end of it, but then the Ducks did that thing where they become the best third period team in hockey. Three goals in 37 seconds turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead for the Ducks. What? How? Then the Blackhawks scored 3:20 after that whole thing happened to make it 4-4. The turning point within the turning point is when Jakob Silfverberg took the penalty that resulted in Patrick Kane’s game-tying goal late. Then we got overtime, and you know the rest.
Three things we learned
1. Antoine Vermette responded in the best possible way to his being scratched in Game 3. Scoring the game-winning goal in a crucial Game 4 is a pretty darn good way to get back into the coach’s good graces (or it’s a good way to get scratched every other game if that’s how he responds). His line with Teuvo Teravainen, also a scratch in Game 3, and Patrick Sharp were good throughout the game as well. Coming into Game 4, Vermette had just one goal in the playoffs and had been a healthy scratch on three occasions to date. He did all of the things well that the Blackhawks needed him to do in this game, including winning 70 percent of his faceoffs and then obviously scoring the big goal.
2. The Anaheim Ducks remain incredible in third periods. Their three goals in 37 seconds to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead was something you just won’t see very often. It was the second fastest three goals by a single team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history. To have done it in that situation makes it all the more ridiculous. While that was an extreme example, the Ducks have been resilient throughout the year. They trailed going into the third period in each of their first three wins of their first-round series with the Winnipeg Jets and had been among the NHL leaders in third-period goals in the regular season. This is a team that is never out of any game they play and they showed just how serious that statement is with a dramatic hot streak over a mere 37 seconds.
3. Duncan Keith is a cyborg. That’s the only explanation for why he is able to play as much as he plays and as well as he plays. He was no different in the second overtime than he was at the start of the game. His defensive positioning, speed and some of the plays he made with his stick in the defensive zone were just ridiculous. He played a game-high 40:39, 8:08 more than Ducks’ top minutes eater, Cam Fowler. This is the second time he has eclipsed 40 minutes in this series and third time overall this postseason. In addition to playing ridiculous minutes, Keith led the Blackhawks with seven shots on goal and had an assist in the game. Maybe some time this postseason these miles will catch up to him, but he was sensational in Game 4 and remains one of the very best defensemen in the game.
Video of the game: Instead of going with the overtime goal, which you can watch here, or the ridiculous three goals in 37 seconds that you can watch here, one of the game’s best plays actually came from Brandon Saad on a secondary assist. With the game tied 1-1 early in the third period, Duncan Keith managed to keep a puck in at the blue line. He got it over to Saad, who in a perfectly fluid motion, sent a beautiful kick pass to Marian Hossa, hitting him right on the tape. Hossa then fired a shot that got blocked, but the puck bounced to Jonathan Toews who scored his first goal of the series. There were a lot of really solid plays in the game, but this one might have been the most creative and don't sleep on the play Keith made to kick it all off. Again, cyborg.
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