ANAHEIM—Game 7 woes continue for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Chicago Blackhawks, however, captured their third Western Conference title in six years with a 5-3 win over the top-seeded Ducks in the deciding game of the series at the Honda Center Saturday, May 30.
“They played better than us tonight,” Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said after his team became the first in NHL history to lose three-consecutive Game 7’s at home.
“I’m not telling you they’re a better team than us. I’m telling you they played better than us tonight, played good enough to win.”
Getzlaf is right. The Blackhawks star players—the seven that have been around for each of the past two of Chicago’s Cup victories—came through once again when their team needed it most in back-to-back potential elimination games.
Captain Jonathan Toews scored twice in the first period to take control of the game. He finished the series with four goals in the last three games and five goals and two assists in the seven-game set. Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad, and Brent Seabrook each scored a goal of their own and Patrick Kane had three assists. Duncan Keith, had two assists after collecting three in Game 6, and led all Blackhawks in ice time again.
In contrast, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were held scoreless in five of six periods in the Ducks’ Game 6 and 7 losses, before connecting for a late goal in the third period. Frederick Andersen made only 21 saves on 26 shots and gave up 18 goals in the final four games of the conference finals.
Getzlaf and Perry each fell to 1-4 in Game 7’s over their NHL careers, which have entirely been spent with the Ducks. An even more alarming stat is that Bruce Boudreau is now 1-6 in Game 7’s as a head coach. Only two teams (this years Ducks and the Washington Capitals) in NHL history to lose home Game 7’s in three straight postseasons were both coached by Boudreau.
“We truly believed we were a different team,” Boudreau said. “We’ll have to live with that for the summer.”
The Ducks miss out on their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 2007. Chicago advances to play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series in Tampa on Wednesday night.