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Ducks pleased with response after blowing lead

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- Andrew Cogliano has been through the Anaheim Ducks' disappointing losses in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past few seasons, so it wasn't surprising that the veteran left wing accurately described what a 5-4 overtime win at Honda Center on Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final meant in the bigger picture.

"We know what their team's about, and I think we're slowly proving what our team's about as well," Cogliano said. "You're not going to go any farther without responding, and guys making plays at the right time. I think tonight was a perfect example of guys getting the job done."

The Ducks took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 6 is Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Last season, Anaheim might not have been able to respond like it did in Game 5 after allowing two goals to Chicago captain Jonathan Toews in the final 1:50 of regulation before Matt Beleskey scored the game-winning goal by 45 seconds into overtime.

The images of the Los Angeles Kings skating around Anaheim in a debilitating 6-2 home loss in Game 7 of a second-round series last season are the fixed point to judge how much the Ducks have matured.

"I think there would be times last year where guys have maybe gripped the stick too much and maybe made plays when they weren't there," Cogliano said. "But I think guys are older now. Guys are one year older. Guys [made] mistakes last year and the year before, and now it's time to not make them."

Cogliano went on to acknowledge the mistakes of letting Chicago into the game Monday. But the Ducks seem better equipped for the high-pressure situations that they succumbed to in Game 7s against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in 2013 and the Kings last season.

"When you got a team like we do, the confidence in our room, the emotions that you go through throughout this together, you grow," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "That's a big part of being a team and going through different things."

The Blackhawks share a common thread with the Ducks in losing to the Kings last season in Game 7 at home in the Western Conference Final. But Chicago also has won the Stanley Cup twice in five seasons.

"We won the Stanley Cup with two goals in 17 seconds," Chicago left wing Patrick Sharp said, referring to the Blackhawks' 2013 championship-clinching win against the Boston Bruins. "They don't get much higher than that. It's a good series. Good team over there, good team in here. We expect that going forward and we expect a long series."

The Ducks have taken a page from the Blackhawks and Kings and kept their public comments and focus on themselves, not their opponent, but they have felt disrespected, and that's something they've used as motivation.

"All the talk's been about how resilient they've been," Cogliano said of Chicago. "We know they're resilient. We know they're a good team. We know they're not going to give up. But, you know, so are we, and I think we proved that tonight."

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