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Stanley Cup Final
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Crawford comes up big for Blackhawks in Game 2

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 12:00 PM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

NHL.com

There was a time early in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Corey Crawford lost his job as starting goaltender of the Chicago Blackhawks. After the first two games of the Western Conference First Round, Crawford was replaced by Scott Darling after putting up a 6.75 goals-against average and .809 save percentage.

Crawford took back his job when he won in relief of Darling in Game 6 of the first round. He's been solid ever since, but never better than in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.

After Chicago finally finished off Anaheim with Marcus Kruger's goal at 16:12 of the third overtime to win 3-2 and even the best-of-7 series 1-1, Crawford was given a championship belt the Blackhawks use to honor their player of the game. Though Crawford passed it on to Kruger, his 60 saves qualified him as championship material.

"He could have kept it," Kruger told the Chicago Sun Times. "He deserves it. He was great tonight. He gave us a chance. We're happy to have him."

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Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Tuesday, May 19

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 8:48 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

KRUGER SCORES IN THIRD OVERTIME TO TIE SERIES WITH DUCKS

Marcus Kruger scored at 16:12 of triple overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 to even the Western Conference Final at one victory apiece.

* Game 2 required 116:12 of total elapsed time and was the longest game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Chicago also played in the previous longest game of this postseason, April 21 in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round vs. the Nashville Predators (3-2 3OT W). Brent Seabrook scored at 1:00 of the third overtime to end the game (101:00 of total elapsed time).

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blackhawks won two games in a single postseason that required at least three overtime periods for the first time in franchise history. The last team to do so was the Ducks, who won two such games in 2003.

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Blackhawks show character in marathon Game 2 win

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 4:11 AM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM -- Character can't be awarded. It must be earned.

The Chicago Blackhawks have earned their share of character while making five trips to the Western Conference Final and claiming the Stanley Cup twice during the past seven seasons. They put every ounce of that hard-earned character on display Tuesday, outlasting the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in triple overtime in an instant classic of a Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center.

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Shaw's head-butt goal remarkable, but disallowed

Wednesday, 05.20.2015 / 3:17 AM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- It might be one of the most remarkable disallowed goals in NHL history.

Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks looked more like a soccer player than a hockey forward early in the second overtime Tuesday when he headed the puck into the net against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the 2015 Western Conference Final at Honda Center.

The puck popped up in the air during a goalmouth scramble, and Shaw purposely used the crown of his helmet to propel the puck past Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen for what he momentarily thought was the game-winning goal.

The play initially was ruled a goal on the ice and several Blackhawks players celebrated, but after a review it was disallowed.

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Coach says Rangers won't win if Nash slump persists

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has stressed the need for more from his top players but has done all he can do to avoid calling them out by name in his two sessions with the media since the end of a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

But Vigneault couldn't duck the obvious in his press conference Tuesday.

Asked specifically about slumping left wing Rick Nash, who has two goals on 50 shots in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vigneault basically said the Rangers won't win if they don't get more out of the player who scored 42 goals in the regular season.

"He's working extremely hard, he's getting physically involved, he's getting some looks," Vigneault said of Nash. "Would I like him to finish on some of those looks? Yes. Do we need him to finish on those looks if we intend to win? Probably yes. He knows that. But this is a team game, a team concept. We need all to be better from our goaltender out. Our defensive group needs to be better. These guys (the Lightning) have obviously got great offensive lines and our forwards need to challenge their group, not just Rick Nash."

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Lightning stress there's no time for letdown in Game 3

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning solved the riddle of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final and will try to ride the momentum of the 6-2 win into Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Despite the strong offensive showing Monday, the Lightning don't want to be satisfied with one good performance, defenseman Victor Hedman said.

"We don't have time for a [letdown]," Hedman said. "There's four teams left and we have to stay focused and play like we did [Monday]. We took some penalties and got some momentum off those kills, and being able to score that shorthanded goal was huge. Now we're excited to go back home and play in front of our fans."

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Farrish: Rangers weren't ready for Lightning's push

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the New York Rangers during the Eastern Conference Final series, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Dave Farrish to break down the action. Farrish will be checking in throughout the series.

Farrish was an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 2005-14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He also coached 1,027 games in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Farrish, a former defenseman, played 430 games over seven seasons in the NHL.

Dave Farrish had a gut feeling before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

"It's funny because I said to my wife before the game, 'I bet you the Lightning win 6-2 tonight,'" Farrish said. "Honestly."

Farrish was spot on. The Lightning beat the Rangers 6-2 behind Tyler Johnson's hat trick that featured a shorthanded goal, a power-play goal, and an even-strength goal. Alex Killorn scored twice, Steve Stamkos had a goal, and Ben Bishop made 35 saves.

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Three keys for Ducks, Blackhawks to winning Game 2

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks made a statement with their 4-1 Game 1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, but they know it will mean little if they don't follow it up with another strong performance Tuesday.

"We're happy with the win, but we are going to have to be a lot better in Game 2 if we want to win that one," Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler said Monday.

Chicago, meanwhile, is a veteran club that has been through every conceivable situation, including being down in a series, during the current seven-season run which has seen it reach the Western Conference Final five times and win two Stanley Cups.

For the Blackhawks, one loss is no reason to panic. But they know they will have to be better in Game 2 at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). If they can steal a win Tuesday, the best-of-7 series goes to Chicago with the Blackhawks owning home-ice advantage.

"We have to have some urgency right here right now, and try to put some pressure on them in their building and go home feeling good about ourselves," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said.

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Johnson, Lightning answer challenge with Game 2 win

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning looked overmatched and out of place on the big stage of the Eastern Conference Final in Game 1 on Saturday. They jumped on Tyler Johnson's diminutive shoulders in Game 2 on Monday and looked like they could be good enough to win the Stanley Cup in a 6-2 victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"In Game 1, we participated in the hockey game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said, "and in Game 2 we came to win a hockey game. That was the difference."

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Rangers hit the road after another home split

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The good news for the New York Rangers is that they've traveled this road before in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For the third straight series, the Rangers hit the road after splitting the first two games at Madison Square Garden. The Tampa Bay Lightning evened the Eastern Conference Final on Monday with a 6-2 victory in Game 2. Game 3 is scheduled Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Rangers found themselves in a 1-1 series deadlock with the Pittsburgh Penguins before winning three straight games in the Eastern Conference First Round. They split the first two games against the Washington Capitals in the second round, then fell behind 3-1 before winning the series in seven games.

But each of the games in the opening two rounds was decided by one goal. In contrast, the Lightning became the first team this spring to score more than four goals against New York. Tampa Bay won the special-teams battle, going 3-for-6 on the power play and scoring a shorthanded goal.

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Quote of the Day

That's the biggest goal I've ever scored. It's a great feeling any time you do that, especially at home. We're one game away from a Stanley Cup berth. It was a huge goal and it felt unbelievable.

— Anaheim forward Matt Beleskey on scoring the overtime winner Monday to give the Ducks a 3-2 series lead against the Blackhawks