Beleskey scores in OT, Ducks beat Chicago 5-4 in wild Game 5
May. 26, 2015
ANAHEIM, California (AP) — Anaheim's Matt Beleskey scored just 45 seconds into overtime to give the Ducks a 3-2 win against Chicago on Monday to take a 3-2 lead in the NHL Western Conference finals.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored two stunning goals in 72 seconds late in regulation to force overtime, but his efforts were in vain as Beleskey barreled into the crease and scored on a rebound of Ryan Kesler's shot, flying through the air in celebration.
"It's Ducks hockey," said Kesler. "We don't like to do anything easy."
Kesler and Sami Vatanen had a goal and an assist apiece for the Ducks, who moved to the brink of their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since 2007.
Goaltender Corey Crawford made 23 saves for the Blackhawks, who had won four overtime games already in this postseason, including two in this series. They had all the momentum heading to OT after Toews twin strikes silenced the crowd at Honda Center — until Beleskey swooped in.
Game 6 is Wednesday in Chicago.
Cam Fowler and Kesler scored 32 seconds apart in a three-goal first period for the Ducks. Patrick Maroon scored with 5:15 to play before Toews' heroics.
Teuvo Teravainen and Brent Seabrook scored in the second period for Chicago, which had won the previous seven occasions they went into a Game 5 with the series tied.
These teams combined for a six-goal third period in Game 4, and they put together another memorable finish in a high-level playoff series already featuring two multi-overtime games.
After Maroon appeared to wrap it up for Anaheim, Toews scored with 1:50 left with goalie Crawford pulled for an extra skater, and he did it again with 37.2 seconds left on a sharp-angled shot that somehow got through Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, who made 24 saves. The Danish goalie had been mostly superb in the postseason until allowing two awful goals in Game 5, including that tying howler.
"In the playoffs, it's really tough to control your emotions, and you've got to be good at that," Andersen said. "That's what we did today, even though they came up and scored twice there. We refocused (before) OT, so it was great."
But the Ducks came out of the dressing room with fire and swiftly made the decisive rush at Crawford, who put a rebound straight onto Beleskey's stick for his seventh goal of the postseason.
"That's the biggest goal I've ever scored," Beleskey said. "It's a great feeling anytime you do that, especially at home."
The goal came after a rallying pep talk from coach Bruce Boudreau heading into overtime.
"Bruce said, 'Get your heads up, boys, we're going to win this hockey game,'" said Maroon. "And everyone believed in here. We've been doing it all year, and that's the great thing about our team, that never-give-up attitude."
The Blackhawks must now win two straight to reach their third Stanley Cup finals in six seasons.
"It was a great comeback," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "A great second (period), a great third, amazing finish. Tough in the overtime. We didn't start on time for the first time in the series. (Anaheim) talked about being ready. Might have been the differential. But great comeback."