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Ducks confident in style facing Blackhawks in Game 4

by Brian Hedger /


TV: NBC, CBC, TVA Sports

Anaheim leads best-of-7 series 2-1

CHICAGO -- The Anaheim Ducks are comfortable with who they are and how they need to play to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in this Western Conference Final.

The Ducks haven't strayed from it in any of the first three games, and they feel that's the main reason they have a chance to win Game 4 at United Center on Saturday and move one victory from the Stanley Cup Final.

"I think anytime when you talk about winning a series, you're going to want to play your game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said Friday. "We can't play a run-and-gun game. We're not a team that's built to skate up and down the rink all night long and trade chances. We're just not built that way. We have to be able to execute our system and the things we want to do."

The Ducks have enough speed to create problems off the rush, but they're a big team that likes to play physically and slow down opponents. In that regard, they're similar to the Minnesota Wild, who the Blackhawks swept in the Western Conference Second Round.

Chicago adjusted its style of play in that series and applied Minnesota's defensive philosophies against it. In this series, the Ducks are doing it to frustrate the Blackhawks.

Partly because of solid defense and partly because of great goaltending from Frederik Andersen, the Blackhawks have scored three of their five goals during 5-on-5 play.

"We've been doing a good job of that so far," Getzlaf said. "There's been points throughout games where they've hemmed us in, [and] got to their cycle game a little bit more, but, you know, those are points that we have to address and keep doing what we're doing going forward."

Each game has been tight (Game 2 was decided in triple overtime), and the Blackhawks have a wealth of playoff experience.

"This game coming up is huge," Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad said Friday. "It's pretty much a must-win for us, especially going back to Anaheim (for Game 5), where they have a lot of success. We play well at home. We let one slip away [Thursday] night, so we've got a big one coming up."

The Blackhawks recalled rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Friday, but he's not likely to play in Game 4. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he could switch his lineup back to what it looked like in Game 2, prior to his decision to scratch center Antoine Vermette and rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen in the Blackhawks' 2-1 loss in Game 3.

Special teams played a big role in that Ducks victory; Anaheim killed five Chicago power plays and scored its first goal on a power play for a 1-0 lead. The Blackhawks scored on their first two power plays in Game 2 but have since squandered eight straight.

"[Last game] we were wasting too much time on our entries and turning pucks over, not getting that extra effort to get the puck," Saad said. "That hurt the power play a lot."

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