CHICAGO – Duncan Keith had three assists and saved a goal in the third period, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 on Wednesday night to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals.
Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane scored in the second to help the Blackhawks hand the Ducks their first regulation loss of the playoffs. Andrew Shaw had two goals in the third, and Corey Crawford finished with 30 saves.
The Blackhawks improved to 31-0 when leading after two periods and erased some of the sting from Monday night's 5-4 overtime loss. Game 7 is Saturday night in Anaheim.
Patrick Maroon and Clayton Stoner scored for the Ducks, and Frederik Andersen made 18 saves.
Anaheim caught a break when Jakob Silfverberg brushed up against Crawford's glove on Stoner's first goal of the playoffs at 1:57 of the third, trimming Chicago's lead to 3-2. There was no call on the play and Crawford threw up his hands in exasperation after Stoner's big slapshot went into the net.
But Crawford quickly put the play behind him, hanging tough while the Ducks made a frantic push for the tying goal. He got some help from Keith when the two-time Norris Trophy winner swept a shot away from the goal line about 3 ½ minutes into the period.
Shaw finally got the Blackhawks some breathing room when he beat Andersen with a nifty backhander high into the net with 3:32 left. Andrew Desjardins made a nice hustle play to get the puck over to Shaw for his third playoff goal.
Shaw then added an empty-netter in the final minute as Chicago improved to 7-1 at home in the playoffs.
The Blackhawks' biggest stars stepped up during a key stretch in the second, led by another terrific all-around performance for Keith. Shaking off the Ducks' plan to wear down Chicago's top four defensemen, Keith had his fourth multipoint game of the playoffs.
The defenseman picked up his first assist of the night when he made a long pass ahead to Kane, who touched it to a streaking Saad. The rugged forward then skated in and beat Andersen at 8:23 of the second, sending a charge through the crowd of 22,089.
Keith connected with Hossa for a pretty score at 10:41, waiting while the winger got open for the other side of the net. He got his 14th assist of the playoffs when Kane made a dazzling move to get past Matt Beleskey and then squeezed a shot past Andersen with 7:52 left in the second.
Rangers, Lightning prepare for Game 7
Six games into the Eastern Conference finals, the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning have taught hockey fans to expect the unexpected.
It's been an outstanding series that is coming down to a winner-take-all contest Friday at Madison Square, Garden.
The prize this time is a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
"The one thing is it's the seventh game and I don't think there's any secrets between the two teams anymore," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Wednesday. "It's just going to be one of those games where it's strap 'em up and play and let's see who comes out on top."