Chicago Blackhawks Anaheim Ducks Take Western Conference Finals to Windy City


Jan 17, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) is defended by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) during the third period at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After an epic Game Two that won’t soon be forgotten, the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks shift the series from Orange County to Chicago for Games Three and Four.  With the series tied at 1-1, the Hawks neutralized Anaheim’s home ice advantage and have a chance to take control of the series tonight.

Puck drop for tonight’s Game Three of the Western Conference Finals is set for 7:00 PM Central Time.  The game can be seen on NBCSN and can be heard on WGN 720 AM.

Here’s a statistical breakdown of how the Hawks and Ducks have fared throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far.

[table id=160 /]

The overall numbers throughout the post-season show a Ducks team that looks like they have a big edge over the Hawks.  What the numbers don’t show is the sheer character that the Hawks have shown throughout the playoffs.

Yes, the Hawks have been on the wrong end of a few blowouts in the playoffs, which is a big reason why their numbers aren’t terribly impressive.  The numbers don’t show the Hawks ability to close out close games.  Look no further than Monday night’s Game Two triple overtime thriller.

The Hawks are the easily the most mettle-tested of the remaining playoff teams, which doesn’t show up in any numerical form.

Going into this series, the Ducks appeared to have a big edge in Special Teams.  Things haven’t exactly played out that way.  The Hawks scored two Power Play goals in the first period of Game Two and killed off all five of Anaheim’s Power Play opportunities.  This is a perfect example of the Hawks rising to the occasion when the numbers said they were in trouble.  Hopefully, they can keep this up.

One area that the Hawks need a bit of a clean up is in the faceoff circle.  Anaheim is an elite faceoffs team and the Hawks are a very good one, and it has shown so far.  The Ducks outshot the Hawks 62-56 in Game Two.  Not a large margin by any means, but this would obviously tilt more in the Hawks favor if they were more successful in the dot.

The Hawks are built on hogging the puck and the more they do it, the more likely they are to walk away with a win.  Winning draws is even more advantageous at home for the Hawks as Coach Q will have more control over the matchups in the game.  If the Hawks have the puck when they have their desired matchups, the more likely they score and the more likely they win.  It’s as simple as that.

The Ducks are likely feeling a bit deflated after failing to take advantage of their home ice advantage by losing Game Two in the most exhausting and heartbreaking fashion imaginable.  Game Three will be a huge test for the Ducks who are known for playoff collapses in recent years.

The best way for them to move beyond this would be to pull off a huge Game Three road win.

Corey Perry, who has 16 points in 11 playoff games finally found the back of the net in Game Two.  Ryan Getzlaf has recorded a point in each game and played an insane 38 minutes and 29 seconds in Game Two.  After a 2 point game in Game One,

After a 2 point game in Game One, Jakob Silfverberg went pointless and committed a penalty in which the Hawks would take advantage of via the Power Play.  Ryan Kesler has yet to record a point in this series, but he has been extremely effective in his shutdown role.

Starting in net for the Ducks will once again be Frederik Andersen.  Andersen has been fantastic throughout the playoffs with a .933 Save Percentage in 11 games played.  However, he is in uncharted waters now.  After surrendering the game-winning goal in the third overtime, it will be interesting to see how Andersen responds, especially on the road.

The Hawks have played in their fair share of multi-overtime playoff games in the last few seasons.  The should know the drill by now and totally understand ho to recover and prepare for the next game.

Although Andrew Shaw’s awesome header goal didn’t count, he had himself once heck of a game in Game Two.  The same can be said about his fellow fourth liners, Marcus Kruger, and Andrew Desjardins.  These three have proven to a be X-factors so far.

Look for Patrick Kane to make some noise tonight as he should see more favorable opponents for him to skate around and put up some points.

Same goes for Jonathan Toewsas well as his linemates Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa.  Coach Q might be able to get them out there against more favorable matchups as well.

Starting in net for the Hawks will once again be Corey Crawford.  Crawford is coming off the best game of his excellent young career thus far.  Crow stopped 60 of 62 shots in Game Two.  Spectacular.

Things are favoring the Hawks.  They have turned weaknesses into strengths, stolen the home ice advantage and have deflated the Ducks’ morale.  Now, they still have to deliver the goods.

Get it done!

Go Hawks!