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Chabot: Hawks' stars were at their best in Game 7

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final, has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

The Chicago Blackhawks are headed to the Stanley Cup Final because their stars were at their best when it counted most, in Games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Final, and the Anaheim Ducks' best players were not, according to Frederic Chabot.

"The last two games, Chicago's best players were better than Anaheim's; to me, that was the difference," Chabot said. "They were clutch, they made the big plays, the goalie made the big saves and their D was really good too.

Five reasons Blackhawks advanced to Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

Prior to the Western Conference Final, the Chicago Blackhawks knew it would be difficult to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks from the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The best-of-7 series that followed was even more difficult than expected. The Blackhawks never held a series lead until clinching it in Game 7 with a 5-3 victory at Honda Center on Saturday.

They needed triple overtime to tie it in Game 2, needed double overtime to tie it in Game 4 and won the final two games consecutively after losing in Game 5 on a Ducks goal 45 seconds into overtime.

Chicago leaned heavily on its top four defensemen in lieu of the ankle fracture that knocked veteran Michal Rozsival out in the second round, took a physical beating from the bigger Ducks and still came out of it with a third trip to the Stanley Cup Final in a six-season window.

The Blackhawks got their redemption for falling an overtime goal short of playing in last season's Cup Final, but it wasn't easy. How did they pull it off?

Here are five reasons the Blackhawks advanced:

Five reasons Ducks were eliminated from playoffs

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

Determining what would be the difference between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks seemed like a futile exercise early in the Western Conference Final.

The teams were so close. Three of the games went to overtime. The aggregate score was 19-19 through the first six games.

But Anaheim ceded control after a Game 5 win and was not up to the task of eliminating the more experienced Blackhawks, who powered through shorthanded on defense to advance to their third Stanley Cup Final in six years.

Anaheim sustained its third straight Game 7 loss at home.

Here are five reasons the Ducks failed to advance:

Noel: Playoff experience the difference for Blackhawks

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

For additional insight on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, has enlisted the help of Claude Noel to break down the action. Noel will be checking in throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Noel was coach for the Winnipeg Jets from 2011-14 and interim coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009-10. He also coached many years in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Noel, a former forward, had 138 points in 353 regular-season games in the AHL and played seven games in the NHL with Washington Capitals in 1979-80.

There might not be a team capable of rallying around big-game experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs quite like the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks will play for their third NHL championship in six seasons after a 5-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday. After falling behind 3-2 in the best-of-7 series, the Blackhawks outscored the Ducks 10-5 over the final two games to advance.

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Saturday, May 30

Sunday, 05.31.2015 / 2:43 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


The Chicago Blackhawks built a 4-0 lead in the second period – triggered by two goals from captain Jonathan Toews in the opening frame – and stifled a rally by the Anaheim Ducks to claim a Game 7 victory and a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

* The Blackhawks advanced to the Final for the 13th time in franchise history and for the third time in the past six seasons (also 2010 and 2013). Via Elias, Chicago is the third team in the last 24 years to reach the Stanley Cup Final at least three times in a six-year span. The others: the Detroit Red Wings (1995-97-98 and 1997-98-2002) and the New Jersey Devils (2000-01-03).

* The Blackhawks improved to 7-6 in 13 all-time Game 7s, including 2-3 on the road. Their only other Game 7 win on the road was in the 1965 Semifinals, when they beat the Red Wings 4-2 before losing to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final (4-0 L at Montreal in Game 7).

Ducks loss is latest Game 7 defeat for Boudreau

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM -- Game 7s have not been kind to Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.

But the loss in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday may hurt a little bit more and a little bit longer than the previous Game 7 losses he has suffered while coaching the Ducks and the Washington Capitals.

"It was closer to winning the Cup, so of course," Boudreau said minutes after the Ducks' 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in a winner-take-all game for the right to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boudreau has an ignominious relationship with Game 7s. He is the first coach in the NHL to lose six such games in his career, and he is the only coach to lose Game 7 at home in three consecutive seasons. It happened to him in Washington and again with the Ducks. His career record in Game 7s dropped to 1-6.

Crawford carries Blackhawks back to Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford wasn't in the mood after Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Saturday to dwell on the pain he felt a year ago at this stage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Following this 5-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks, Crawford was too focused on what's ahead to think about redemption earned for a stinging defeat that happened June 1, 2014 at United Center.

That's when Crawford didn't see a fluttering shot by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez at 5:47 of overtime, and the Blackhawks lost their chance to repeat as Stanley Cup champion.

After making 35 saves to eliminate Anaheim and advance to Chicago's third Stanley Cup Final in six seasons, Crawford opted to keep his eyes on what's next: Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I don't think any of us think about last year," he said. "All we're thinking about is having a chance to play for the Cup. That's enough motivation right there."

Blackhawks' Richards to face familiar foe in Cup Final

Sunday, 05.31.2015 / 1:33 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

ANAHEIMBrad Richards knew when the conference finals were set if the Chicago Blackhawks advanced to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, it was going to be an interesting opponent for him.

He was either going to face the organization that cast him aside less than a year ago, the New York Rangers, or the one where he became a Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Richards found out Friday it would be the Lightning and then helped the Blackhawks reach the Cup Final with two points in a 5-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Saturday.

Ducks captain Getzlaf: 'I didn't play good enough'

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf stood by the bench door and waited for all of his teammates to leave the ice, one-by-one, until he was the last player.

It was somewhat symbolic.

Anaheim often goes the way Getzlaf goes, and his start to Game 7 of the Western Conference Final was indicative of another disappointing exit by the Ducks.

Getzlaf was outplayed by Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who scored twice in the opening 12 minutes to lead his team to a 5-3 win at Honda Center. Getzlaf had a good look at Toews because he was on the ice each time and was matched up against him.

It was the second straight disappointing game by Getzlaf, who was on the ice for six of Chicago's nine goals in a span from Game 6 to Game 7.

Blackhawks' best players took over Game 7

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- After six games of dramatic comebacks, the Chicago Blackhawks' talent made sure Game 7 of the Western Conference Final didn't need another one at Honda Center on Saturday.

Led by captain Jonathan Toews' two goals, scored in succession in the first period, the Blackhawks' reached the 2015 Stanley Cup Final with a 5-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks that decided the best-of-7 series.

"I think you definitely feed off the confidence that it gives you," said Toews, who started the game with Patrick Kane on his right wing for the first time in the series. "You want to consider yourself that type of player at the end of the day. But it helps when you're alongside guys that have those same intangibles."

Aside from Toews again rising to occasion with a special game, the Blackhawks got a goal each from forward Brandon Saad, right wing Marian Hossa and defenseman Brent Seabrook.

They got three assists from Kane, two from defenseman Duncan Keith, and two from center Brad Richards, who played as Hossa's right wing in place of Kane.

"They are world-class players," Richards said of Toews and Kane. "It's not like … I mean, I got to play with Marian Hossa instead [of Kane]. For me, it wasn't a disappointing move. That's what so great about this team. If it helps and changes the balance … [Hossa] scored a couple big goals and [the top line] scored big goals. We're all pulling in the same direction here, so whatever works."

The Blackhawks will try to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons starting with Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Quote of the Day

Well, for me this one's concerning, the way we performed. Because three games in, playing a desperate team on the road, I was expecting something else than this. Right now, I'm just disappointed. The other games, I thought we did some things that you can build off your game. There wasn't a lot accomplished in tonight's game.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards after a 4-2 loss to the Sabres on Monday dropped Columbus to 0-3-0
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