ANAHEIM -- The calm demeanor of goaltender Frederik Andersen through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was a large part of the Anaheim Ducks' success.
But the Chicago Blackhawks kept coming at Andersen during the Western Conference Final, and they finally broke him.
Andersen looked shaky at the start of Game 7 and couldn't prevent Chicago from taking a four-goal lead on its way to a 5-3 win Saturday at Honda Center. Anaheim needed Andersen to be at his sharpest; however, most of the poise in net was shown by Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who demonstrated the experience that Andersen is building toward.
"I think I've taken a step," Andersen said. "I'm still not satisfied. I learned a lot from last year and this year. It still [stinks]."
When Marian Hossa scored 13:45 into the second period to give Chicago a 4-0 lead, it means that Andersen had allowed 12 goals on 63 shots. He allowed 10 goals on 157 shots in the first four games of the series.
Andersen probably couldn't be faulted much for some of Chicago's goals, one of which came on a power play. Hossa's goal was on a 2-on-1 in which Andersen made the initial save before the puck kicked off Hossa's skate and into the net.
But Andersen didn't seem to be the same after Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored twice in the final 1:50 of regulation in Game 5, the latter to force overtime. Anaheim won that game 5-4 in OT but fell flat in Game 6 when Andersen again allowed four goals.
This was by far the deepest Andersen, 25, had gone in his young NHL career. Game 7 was his 70th appearance of the season. The most games he had played at any level in one season prior to 2014-15 was 47, with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League in 2012-13. In comparison, Crawford played his 70th career NHL playoff game Saturday.
"I mean, it will be a question that I'll ask myself: Did he get tired?" Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Did Chicago get much better? Were they getting better looks and chances to score on him? That, I don't know. I mean, I know we gave up 18 goals in the last four games, and we didn't give up 18 goals in the whole series, in the previous series.
"But I'm not laying any blame on Freddie. He kept us in so many games this year, it was ridiculous. He played his heart out too."
Goalie - ANA
GAA: 2.34 | SVP: .913
Andersen grabbed the No. 1 job this season and never gave it up after an expected challenge by rookie John Gibson never came to fruition, one of the few solaces that and Andersen and the Ducks can take into next season.
"I know that I've taken steps," Andersen said. "But we'll see. I'll talk to the people on my team to get me better, my trainers and stuff. How to build for next year. It's not going to be tomorrow, but it's going to be hopefully pretty soon.
"Obviously it's a tough trophy to win. [It's] more experience for everyone to see how tough it is to go that far. It seems like it's been a long ride, but I feel like it's over way before it's supposed to."