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Ducks' Andersen escapes rough outing with win

by Shawn Roarke / NHL.com

ANAHEIM -- Frederik Andersen couldn't escape the spotlight Monday.

With overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final about to begin, Andersen, the Anaheim Ducks goalie, lumbered down the hallway from the dressing room and stepped onto the ice, where the Honda Center spotlight picked him up and followed him as he slowly skated approximately 115 feet to his net.

The bright light was overkill.

Frederik Andersen
Frederik Andersen
Goalie - ANA
RECORD: 11-3
GAA: 2.06 | SVP: .925
All eyes at Honda Center were already on Andersen, tracking him as he retook his place in the crease. They wondered where he was mentally after allowing two goals in a 72-second span in the final 1:50 of the third period to let the Blackhawks stage one of the most dramatic and improbable comebacks in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They feared he would allow another soft goal and put the Ducks to within one game of elimination.

Each goal came off the stick of Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, with his goalie, Corey Crawford, on the bench for the extra attacker. Toews tied it on a shot from the goal line extended, against the side wall. An impossible-angle shot, full of hope and little else.

"He caught me off guard," said Andersen, who also let up a weak goal to Blackhawks forward Teuvo Teravainen to open the second period and give Chicago hope after falling into a three-goal hole. "It was up on the boards there, and he threw it from nowhere and caught me on the wrong foot. It's obviously one I got to have at that time of the game."

Andersen didn't have it and, as a result, the Ducks did not have a win they thought was theirs when Patrick Maroon gave them a two-goal lead with 5:15 remaining in regulation. Suddenly, Chicago looked like it was going to do what Chicago does: win a series-turning game it had no right to win.

Ryan Getzlaf, the Anaheim captain, intercepted Andersen as the third-period horn sounded and the goalie tried to retreat to the sanctuary of the dressing room, the stunned gasps of the once delirious Ducks fans still ringing in his ears.

"[Getzlaf] came down right away and tried to pick me up; he's a great leader," Andersen said. "Told me whatever matters now is the next shot; that's all I can worry about it. That was my mindset."

There was no next shot, at least not by the Blackhawks.

Chicago won the faceoff to start overtime but didn't win anything else for the next 45 seconds. After Anaheim got two good chances, Chicago forward Bryan Bickell failed to get the puck deep into the offensive zone on the next possession, and the Ducks counterattacked.

This time, Ryan Kesler shot and Matt Beleskey beat the coverage to jam home the rebound and set off pandemonium at Honda Center. Anaheim survived its meltdown and Andersen's gaffes to win the game 5-4 and take the series lead 3-2.

This time, Andersen skated much faster and without any scrutiny as he joined the pile to the left of the Chicago net. And while Beleskey was the primary object of affection, Andersen got his fair share of pats on the back as well.

"He's played great, and I think at the end of the day, there's no pointing fingers," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "Obviously, he wanted a few goals back. He's won us games completely on his play. We needed to get him the win tonight.

"Chicago has got [Corey] Crawford those two overtime wins when maybe goals were going in in regulation, and tonight was our night. Freddie is going respond. He's calm. I'm sure he is going to have an attitude of coming back and responding."

It wasn't easy for Andersen, who was rattled after giving up the two goals to Toews.

"I just tried to settle down," he said after the game in a dressing room full of relieved teammates. "It was, obviously, one of the harder things I have done with the way the game went for me. As a goalie, you have to have a short memory and get ready for the next shot. That's all you can do."

Nobody knows what would have happened with the next shot from the Blackhawks in Game 5, or where Andersen was mentally as overtime started. His teammates wanted to make sure nobody had to find out the answer to what the next shot would bring.

Those answers will have to wait for Game 6 in Chicago on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). The Blackhawks need a win to extend the series and prevent the Ducks from booking a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

Andersen, who has not lost back-to-back games since March 6 and 9, has saved Anaheim on multiple occasions. In Game 1 of this series, he allowed one goal, a feat he repeated in Game 3, each an Anaheim win. He has been in the heads of Chicago shooters for long stretches of this series.

Monday, he was off. It happens to all goalies at some point. The Ducks made sure that the off night did not define their goalie's 2015 postseason legacy.

"He's played so many good games in a row and he's bailed us out so often," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He had an unfortunate couple of goals against him today, and Freddie would be the first one to tell you he should've had them. It was time we bailed him out. He'll be back to his normal, great self in two days. It was good to see that if he had a bad game we'd be able to help him out a little bit."

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