DUCKS at BLACKHAWKS
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Anaheim leads best-of-7 series 3-2
CHICAGO -- The Anaheim Ducks are one win away from advancing to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, but they're trying not to think about it heading into Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at United Center on Wednesday.
It's no easy task. Even Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is fighting the urge to daydream a little. Prior to this season, Boudreau had never coached a team to the conference finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Anaheim finds itself on the verge of its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 2007 after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime to win Game 5 at Honda Center on Monday.
"Yeah, I mean, I give my head a shake sometimes," Boudreau said Tuesday before the Ducks traveled to Chicago. "It is close. Sometimes you don't realize. You say you're one game away [from] playing for the Stanley Cup. I try not to think about that. It's difficult, but you got to stay in the moment. You got to stay focused at what's at hand. If you start thinking ahead, usually bad things happen."
That's especially true for teams holding a 3-2 series lead against the Blackhawks. Since the 2008-09 season, Chicago is 3-1 in Game 6s when facing elimination, all under coach Joel Quenneville.
"It's something we know we've done before," Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad said. "We know when we're in tight situations like this, we've got a veteran group that's been through it, and we know how to win games."
The Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the second round in 2013 on their way to winning the Cup. Chicago also won Game 6 of the first round in 2011 to force a Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks and did the same against the Los Angeles Kings in the conference final last season, but it lost each series.
Quenneville was vague when asked if there would be any lineup changes. Prior to Game 3, he surprisingly scratched center Antoine Vermette and rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen. The Blackhawks lost 2-1 in a defense-dominated game, and Quenneville took a lot of criticism.
Quenneville said all options will be considered for Game 6, including the possibility of playing captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane on the same line. They're usually split between the top two lines, with Toews centering the top group, but Quenneville puts them together occasionally for more offensive production.
Chicago rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk might be in the lineup in favor of Kimmo Timonen or Kyle Cumiskey. Quenneville said van Riemsdyk, who hasn't played in the NHL since November because of injuries, will participate in the morning skate.
Boudreau kept his lineup thoughts to himself but gave goalie Frederik Andersen his backing. Andersen allowed all four Blackhawks goals in Game 5, including two late ones by Toews that sent it past regulation.
"That's something we even talked about going into overtime," Saad said. "We get two quick goals like that, we want to test him as much as possible. Unfortunately, it ended fairly quickly on their side, but that's something where momentum can carry over to a game and we want to keep testing him [Wednesday]."