For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final, NHL.com 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.
If there's been one positive to take away from the slow starts the Anaheim Ducks have had in parts of the Western Conference Final, it might be that goalie Frederik Andersen has been able to get into a rhythm quickly.
The Chicago Blackhawks outshot the Ducks by a combined 49-28 in the first four games of their best-of-7 series, forcing Andersen into action early.
But in Game 5 on Monday, it was Anaheim who came out of the gates quickly, outshooting Chicago 11-3 in the first period and taking a 3-0 lead. The lack of work may have played a factor in Andersen struggling through the next two periods, according to Frederic Chabot, but Andersen's teammates picked him up and Anaheim won 5-4 to take a 3-2 series lead.
"In the past games, [Andersen] was really busy early on, so he got in the game," Chabot said. "Maybe, all the overtimes, and the double-overtime loss [in Game 4], it affects players on different teams in different ways.
"Chicago came out a little flat, but on Anaheim's side, it looks like they had a good day off, and they were rested, and they came out strong. But maybe Andersen, in the back of his head, he lost two overtime games against Chicago, and maybe that bothered him a bit."
Chabot said it was apparent something was different in Andersen in the first period.
"He didn't have the same body language [Monday] night," Chabot said. "He looked a little unsure, even early in the game there were some rebounds coming off his body and his pads that when he's sharp, they don't come out. He had an off night but it's a team game and they found a way to win."
Like Andersen, the rest of the Ducks also had to deal with playing with a 3-0 lead. Monday was the second time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the Ducks have led by two or more goals before the third period.
"It was the first time in the series Anaheim was at their best in the first, and at the same time, Chicago came out flat, which gave us a different first period." Chabot said. "After that, Anaheim slowed down for a little bit, but Chicago woke up and kept trying harder, and Andersen having a tough night gave Chicago a chance."
Chicago scored twice in the second period to cut its deficit to 3-2. Patrick Maroon's goal gave Anaheim a 4-2 lead 14:45 into the third before Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored twice with the goalie pulled, including the game-tying goal with 38 seconds remaining in regulation from a sharp angle above the goal line.
"The way [Andersen] plays at his right post, his stick is not always perfectly on the ice. I think he wasn't ready [for Toews' shot]," Chabot said. "He was trying to look at what were going to be the options for Toews once he got the puck, and he was taking a look, scanning the zone, and was not ready for a shot. So when the puck came in his feet his stick wasn't on the ice and it hit his left foot and went in. It was a matter of not being sharp and not taking care of the basic things."
Anaheim came out strong in overtime though, and won 45 seconds in when forward Matt Beleskey scored on a rebound off a Ryan Kesler shot.
With the game behind him, Chabot said Andersen needs to keep his focus on the bigger picture.
"As a goalie, sometimes you have to put the results aside, and you have to look at how you played," Chabot said. "If you win or you lose, you have to look at how you played, and overall in the playoffs, he's been really good.
"He had a little bit of an off night, so he has to bounce back, and get himself ready to be sharp, and not to worry too much about the last game. It's just like when you win a big one, it doesn't matter in the playoffs; you have to get ready for next game. He didn't play well but they won. He has to get over it and get ready for Game 6."
Chabot said if Anaheim gets off to another strong start in a potential series-clinching Game 6 on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), Andersen will need to a find a way to remain engaged.
"You have to get vocal and be in the game; talk when the play is in the zone, talk on faceoffs, and maybe get involved playing the puck a little more, but keep it simple at the same time," Chabot said. "Just making sure you're vocal during the game, and you feel like you're participating."