ANAHEIM -- For more than 56 minutes of overtime Tuesday, pucks went off posts, crossbars and goaltenders but not in the net. One went off a helmet and into the net, but that potential winning goal was disallowed.
Eventually, the puck hit Marcus Kruger's glove and fell to the ice. Fortunately for the Chicago Blackhawks, Kruger was standing inches from the Anaheim Ducks goal line, and at 16:12 of the third overtime he ended Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center.
Kruger's goal gave Chicago a 3-2 victory, ended the longest game in Blackhawks history and evened the best-of-7 series at 1-1. Game 3 is Thursday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
"I lost the puck there when it went D to D [from Johnny Oduya to Brent Seabrook at the right point]; it hit my glove first, and then I tried to get a stick on it," Kruger said. "Happy to put it in."
So often the Blackhawks accomplish something and then point to their collective experience as a reason. Teams don't reach the conference finals five times in seven seasons without working through just about every situation a hockey game can offer.
This game was no different. Chicago has been involved in the past four Stanley Cup Playoff games to reach a third overtime, including one earlier in this postseason (Game 1 of the first round against the Nashville Predators). The Blackhawks are 3-1 in those games.
"We've been through that a few times now in the last couple of years, and I think the idea is more relief, some excitement," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. "I know [Kruger] scored that goal, but it seems like every time [Seabrook] handles that puck in overtime, he's dangerous and something's gonna happen. It was a big goal for us. We're excited to go back home."
Andrew Shaw scored one goal and had a second disallowed because he deliberately headed the puck across the goal line for the Blackhawks. Marian Hossa also scored, and goaltender Corey Crawford made 60 saves, including at least a dozen excellent ones after regulation.
The Ducks will use Wednesday to try to regroup and travel to Chicago. They erased a two-goal lead, did not allow a goal for 99:53 and were one bounce from a 2-0 series lead in Game 2.
Frederik Andersen made 53 saves in the loss.
"I think you have to try [to forget it]," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "It's tough. It's tough right now obviously. You compete that long and guys are laying it on the line. It's tough to lose like that to be honest."
The Blackhawks thought they scored the winning goal in the second overtime when Shaw headed the puck into the net with Chicago on the power play, but the goal was waved off after video review. Rule 78.5 says a goal will be disallowed "when the puck has been directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick."
Anaheim hit the post or crossbar three times in the first two overtimes, and Corey Perry had the best chance for either team with an unmarked shot from the slot that Crawford managed to deflect.
"It's as intense a game as I've ever been a part of," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Unbelievable game and pace. Both teams left it out on the rink. Both teams had some excellent chances to win the game and end it different times in different periods. We won the battle and stuck with it. [Kruger] gets a big goal because he's one of those guys who's a warrior, but across the board, commend everybody."
Chicago scored twice on the power play in the opening seven minutes. Shaw deflected Duncan Keith's shot from the left point at 2:14 with Patrick Maroon in the box for boarding to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.
Hossa was credited with Chicago's second goal at 6:19 when he tipped the puck after Bryan Bickell's shot had beaten Andersen. He actually deflected it the wrong way, but it went off the stick of Anaheim defenseman Simon Despres and across the goal line.
At that point, the Blackhawks held an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal, but the Ducks controlled the rest of the period and made it 2-1 at 9:14. Ducks forward Nate Thompson threw the puck at the net from the right wing and it glanced off Cogliano's skate past Crawford.
It was Cogliano's third goal of the playoffs and Thompson's third point in the series.
Chicago had six of the first eight shots on goal in the second period. Leaning heavily on four defensemen using Kimmo Timonen and Kyle Cumiskey sparingly, at that point the Blackhawks held the Ducks to nine shots on goal in about 27 minutes.
Anaheim outshot Chicago 17-1 in the final 11:27 of the period, and the Ducks tied the game 2-2. Parked in front of Crawford, Perry deflected Ryan Getzlaf's shot at 17:30 for his eighth goal of the postseason.
"I thought the last 10 minutes of the second period was our best part of the game," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "After they took the first two goals, they didn't score for another five periods. I thought we played pretty well.
"But those things happen. That's hockey. It's back to the drawing board for Thursday."
Perry and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson are tied for the postseason lead with 16 points, though Perry has played four fewer games. Getzlaf's 14 points are tied for third; his 12 assists lead the playoffs.
It was the second-longest game in Ducks history. Anaheim defeated the Dallas Stars 4-3 in the fifth overtime of Game 1 of the conference semifinals on April 24, 2003.
"That's going to take the wind out of their sails, definitely," Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell said. "Now, we need to back it up in Chicago. We've got the momentum, [though] it doesn't feel like we do, because I'm really tired."