Blackhawks banking on durability to win playoff series against Ducks

Blackhawks banking on durability to win playoff series against Ducks
Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) controls the puck in front ofDucks defenseman Francois Beauchemin during the Ducks' 3-2 loss in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at Honda Center on May 19, 2015. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The durability of the Chicago Blackhawks is something the Ducks are intent on testing.

Go for it, the Blackhawks effectively said on the morning of Game 3.


Following Tuesday’s 3-2 triple-overtime victory in Anaheim, Chicago center Andrew Shaw said extreme physical exertion “is part of being a hockey player. You’ve got to be able to pull that off.

"In any type of seven-game series, both teams are going to get worn down, whether you're throwing checks or getting hit. It's a physical game. It's going to get tiring. But that's what makes for a good series. We know they're going to keep coming at us with everything they've got."

The Ducks out-hit Chicago, 71-45, in Game 2, and forced four Blackhawks defensemen to play more than 46 minutes.

"They're a consistent team, they're going to play the same way," Shaw said after getting off a team-high seven shots and scoring a first-period goal last game. "We're prepared for that and have to battle back. … We played a full 120 in that second game."

And won, when Marcus Kruger’s deflection beat Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen 16 minutes and 12 seconds into the third overtime.

Thursday night, the Blackhawks get home-ice advantage to provide some extra adrenaline after the team kept its fans awake until 1 a.m. Central time with Game 2.

“People probably had a long day at work and are looking forward to tonight’s game. It’s a special place,” Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville said of United Center. “The perk of playing before such a passionate fan base, we look forward to it.”

Quenneville was noncommittal about any lineup changes, saying only that he'll create his lineups to give the Blackhawks the best chance to "win that game."

The coach is aware of the attention being paid to his players' heavy minutes -- defenseman Duncan Keith played a game-high 49:51.

"It's another part of the experience. The process sometimes gets challenging, but …. Our focus is trying to get through, trying to win that game," Quenneville said. "We've got guys out there in the right situations."

ORANGE IS NOW BLACK: Former Ducks minor leaguer Kyle Cumiskey played more than 18 minutes for the Blackhawks in his postseason debut in Game 2.

"I liked his game," Quenneville said. "He's got another layer with the puck. Offensively, with his speed and quickness, he can get involved a little more with moving up the ice. Defensively, he's fine. Broke up some plays, made a lot of nice direct plays, as well. Good start."

Cumiskey, who previously played for minor-league Syracuse with Ducks Kyle Palmieri and Patrick Maroon, said carrying momentum from Game 2 will require hard work.

"I want to improve, but just keep things simple and not try to overdo things or complicate things," Cumiskey said. "It's tough when you're thrown out there every once in a while, so when you get into a rhythm it helps a lot and you start to feel more confident. I was pretty happy with [my performance]."