The Chicago Blackhawks are hoping to remain undefeated at home in the 2015 NHL playoffs, as the Western Conference Finals shifts to the United Center on Thursday night. Chicago will host the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of their seven-game set with the series tied at 1-1.
Chicago was staring a 2-0 series deficit in the face on Tuesday night when their contest with Anaheim went to three overtimes. Marcus Kruger’s goal at the 16:12 mark in the period finally ended the contest, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 win and home-ice advantage.
A Game 3 victory might require another big performance from Corey Crawford, who hasn’t looked like a two-time Stanley Cup winner throughout the entirety of the postseason. But he stepped up in Game 2, saving 60 of the 62 shots that were sent his way.
"I thought he battled," head coach Joel Quenneville said of Crawford after Game 2. "I thought he was outstanding. Quick, alert, handled the puck, rebound control, challenged. Made a couple gigantic saves."
Crawford bounced back from Game 1 in which he allowed three goals on 29 shots. Having a career playoff save percentage of .921, the goaltender allowed nine goals in Chicago’s first-round series, playing in just three of the six games. But he’s been much improved since then, and might be the biggest reason why the series with Anaheim is tied.
Through two games against the Ducks, the Blackhawks are without goals from their top two scorers. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane haven’t put one in the back of the net this series, though Toews does have an assist.
Ducks’ goalie Frederik Andersen has been terrific all postseason. He’s allowed just 1.81 goals per game with a .933 save percentage. In 11 games, Andersen has allowed more than two regulation-goals just twice, but his Game 2 performance wasn’t quite good enough.
“It was just a tough loss,” Andersen said after the game. “I think we had some really good chances and it was a tough pill to swallow. We've got to get on with it on Thursday.”
Chicago is favored to win Game 3 and take the series lead. Falling behind in the series would be a first for the Ducks in 2015, who only lost Game 3 to the Calgary Flames in the first two rounds.
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Online Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Betting Odds: Chicago-135, Anaheim+115
Prediction: Chicago over Anaheim, 3-2