ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks wished they hadn't allowed Game 2 of the Western Conference finals to become the longest game in Honda Center history even before Marcus Kruger won it for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Corey Perry had three good chances to end it, and Sami Vatanen hit two posts. After winning nine of their first 10 post-season games, the Ducks just couldn't connect this time ? and they expect they'll regret allowing Chicago to head home with a split.
Kruger batted home Brent Seabrook's shot 16:12 into the third overtime, and the Blackhawks skated off with a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.
Frederik Andersen made a career-high 53 saves, but Chicago ended a scoring drought of nearly 110 minutes when Kruger got in front and forced a ricochet past him.
"This is a tough loss," Andersen said. "We had some good chances, and it's a tough pill to swallow."
Perry tied it late in the second period of the first home loss in seven games this spring for the Ducks, who were shut out over the final 78:42. Andrew Cogliano also scored, but Anaheim couldn't manage the late-game magic that has defined a season full of comebacks and tenacious goals.
"There were a few posts, a few crossbars," said Perry, who put a shot off Corey Crawford's crossbar about 10 minutes into the first OT. "You get right back at it, put it behind you and get ready for the next one."
Indeed, the puck will drop on Game 3 in Chicago about 42 hours after this one ended.
Crawford made 60 saves as the Blackhawks finally handed the Ducks their second loss of the post-season. The game was the 17th-longest in NHL history, and the longest since Dallas and San Jose went four overtimes on May 4, 2008.
"You just try to limit the mistakes as much as possible," Cogliano said. "You're drained. I think both game plans on both teams get a little lax, because you're out there for so long. Physically it's tough. Guys cramp. You're out there for so long, going through so many hits, and the game is so fast-paced, especially against this team. It's a tough pill to swallow right now, but you've just got to get over it. We've got to recover."
Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa scored power-play goals in the opening minutes for Chicago. When the longest game in the Blackhawks' 89-year history finally ended, they celebrated with more relief than excitement.
"I just hope we don't have any more like that," Shaw said. "I think this helps us, and showed us what can happen if we keep sticking to it and competing. We'll find a way to win."
Shaw attempted to end it during a power play 8:47 into the second overtime by knocking a high-arching rebound of Patrick Kane's shot into the net with his helmet in a stunning soccer-style play, but the goal was illegal. The officials briefly conferred before waving it off ??? NHL rules prohibit players from deliberately knocking the puck into the net with anything except their sticks.
"It was just a reaction right there," Shaw said. "You do whatever you can to get that puck across the line. But we just kept working and competing, and we got lucky. ... Overtime goals are huge, so I tried to sell it as much as I could. It was just exciting, the reaction at the net. I was just out there using my head, I guess."
These Western powers came into the series with ample rest after easily winning their second-round series, but they used up much of that extra energy in a marathon Game 2.
Anaheim hadn't played a game with multiple overtimes since May 3, 2009, while Chicago won two multiple-overtime games in the first round against Nashville. The game was the second-longest in Ducks history, trailing only a five-overtime game at Dallas in 2003.
The Blackhawks never led in Game 1 while struggling to match the Ducks' depth and going scoreless on three power plays. Chicago kept its bench short in Game 2, largely playing only four defencemen ??? Duncan Keith logged just under 50 minutes of ice time, while Niklas Hjalmarsson and Seabrook both topped 47 minutes ??? and relying on its top-end talent.
In the end, Kruger came up with his second goal of the post-season.
Chicago capitalized twice in the opening 6:19 after poor penalties by the Ducks. Shaw and Hossa both scored their second goal in three games after nine-game droughts to open the post-season.
Anaheim played a dominant second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-1 in the final 13 minutes. Perry finally evened it late, deflecting a long shot from captain Ryan Getzlaf for his eighth goal in 11 games.
NOTES: The Ducks had played into triple overtime four previous times, but all were on the road. ... It was the 50th triple-overtime game in NHL playoff history. ... Chicago made one lineup change, scratching D David Rundblad in favour of Kyle Cumiskey, who appeared in his first NHL post-season game since 2010.