As they trudged back to their locker room after the third period, the
"We were pissed. We were mad coming in here," center
They got mad and then did better than get even, clawing out a 5-4 overtime victory that put them within one win of their first
"Ducks hockey — it's not for the faint of heart," Kesler said with a weary smile. "We like to make things interesting in here."
Sometimes too interesting, as in their inability to hold leads of 3-0 and 4-2 Monday, and their tendency to become sloppy when they've built a big lead. But they were aggressive when sudden-death play began, putting together a second strong shift before they took off on a counterattack after Chicago's
Sudden-death play was short and, for the Ducks, very sweet, after enduring losses in triple overtime in Game 2 and double overtime in Game 4.
"We've played a lot of overtime and lost. And tonight we just needed to win, as simple as that," left wing
They got it despite a spectacular effort by Toews, who scored twice after goaltender Corey Crawford was replaced by an extra player. "He's a good player," Kesler said of Toews. "Skilled player. Makes plays. We got running around too much there and left him wide open."
Not the best guy to leave wide open, though his second goal was on a sharply angled shot from the goal line that caromed in off the leg of Ducks goaltender
'Obviously we don't want to give up a lead, but it's playoff hockey. It happens," Kesler said. "The thing is we got mad and we came in here and finished it off."
The key is that they channeled their anger in the right direction, using it for energy and motivation instead of wallowing in self-pity. Coach
"We said it was our turn. Don't be upset and hang your heads. Get angry," Boudreau said afterward. "Get really mad because we threw it away a little bit. Just come back and do what you did in the first period. Things will work out."
They were flying in the first period, taking a 3-0 lead without much resistance. But the Blackhawks, making their fifth conference finals appearance in seven seasons, chipped away relentlessly to score once early in the second period and again late in the period.
"You never can be trusting that the game is over before the horn sounds," Ducks defenseman
Toews took over to score twice in that frenzied final few minutes of the third period before Beleskey, who had been moved down to the fourth line to start the game and was reunited with Kesler and Silfverberg to start the third period, converted Kesler's rebound.
"Relief," Maroon said of his emotions after Beleskey's goal. "Big smile, knowing that we needed this game bad and we wanted this game and we believed we could win this game. I think the guys feel good about it and I think the guys feel good about going into Chicago for Game 6 and being ready to play."
Maybe all the Ducks need is to stay mad.
"Yeah, that's the goal," Kesler said. "We know the situation. We know they're on the brink of elimination. They're going to play their best game and we've got to up our level too."