Ducks will try to rebound in Game 3 against Chicago Blackhawks

Ducks will try to rebound in Game 3 against Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford makes a save on a shot by Ducks forward Matt Beleskey, left, during the first period of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at Honda Center on May 19, 2015. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A triple-overtime Game 2 exceeded the already high expectations of the Western Conference finals between the Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Now comes the swing game.


The fact that Game 3 of the tied series will be played Thursday in front of more than 20,000 fans in Chicago is clearly an advantage for the Blackhawks.

"We're excited to try to get them on their heels a little bit more; find the excitement, energy we've had in our own building," Chicago center Jonathan Toews said. "We want to take control of the series."

The Blackhawks endured 62 shots on goal before finally beating the Ducks, 3-2, on Marcus Kruger's goal 16 minutes and 12 seconds into the third overtime at Honda Center.

Meanwhile, the Ducks insisted they were braced for a grinding series and believe their brand of physical hockey sets up well for the long run.

"To me, it was a confidence boost," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said of the 4-hour, 52-minute affair. "We didn't get the final result we wanted, but for almost six periods ... I look and say, 'Hey, man, we can hang with these guys.' That's why I'm excited about getting back at it."

The Ducks outhit Chicago, 71-45, won the faceoff battle, 59-53, and kept the short-handed Blackhawks' defense busy, their top four defenseman playing 46 minutes-plus in Game 2.

"You look at some of the minutes those guys were racking up, it's something that wears on you," Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri said. "With this series set up to be every other day, it's going to be tough to recover."

In Chicago, Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson answered, "It's all about getting the win. If that means play a lot of minutes, try not to mess up at the same time, I'll try that."

For both sides it was try, try again before Kruger's deflection ended a marathon that left several players visibly gassed.

Four Ducks' shots — two in the extra periods by Sami Vatanen — hit the post behind goalie Corey Crawford.

The Blackhawks celebrated what they thought was a winning goal in the second OT, only to have officials wave off center Andrew Shaw's soccer-style header.

"Unbelievable game … we got the bounce at the end," Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville said. "The guys have been through it, are tested in these situations. [Experience] can be a factor."

Francois Beauchemin — who'll turn 35 on June 4 and played a team-high 46 minutes, 29 seconds — has been there too, and made his voice heard in the Ducks' dressing room.

"We lost one game," the defenseman said he told teammates, "and we've got to get it back in Chicago."


As the resilient Ducks have done so often this season, they came back from a two-goal deficit after Chicago scored a pair of power-play goals in the first period. Corey Perry got the equalizer when he deflected in a Ryan Getzlaf pass late in the second period.


The Blackhawks failed to score on their next three power plays — including a two-man advantage in the third period — but Beauchemin said the Ducks need to stay out of the box in this series.

"Five-on-five … that's when we burn teams down," he said.

And Boudreau can add to those numbers. The deep Ducks have forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Tim Jackman, and defenseman James Wisniewski at the ready.

Fresh legs anyone?

"We've had initial discussions among the coaching staff, and it's possible because we think we have a lot of good players who aren't playing," Boudreau said.

Most important, the coach said, is not obsessing on the ending of the memorable Game 2 — the longest in Honda Center annals and the longest Blackhawks game in the team's 89-year history.

"It was two really good teams who didn't want to lose going at it," Boudreau said. "Is [Chicago] a team we thought it'd be nip and tuck with the whole series? Yeah."

The Ducks' two losses in 11 playoff games have come in overtime, but Getzlaf said it would be wasteful to lament the near misses.

"Never once did we think we were going to sweep the Chicago Blackhawks," he said "We lost one. Now, we've just got to prepare again."

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire