Blackhawks rally falls short in Game 5 OT loss to Ducks


Blackhawks rally falls short in Game 5 OT loss to Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Blackhawks have made it clear that no lead is safe against them.

They can come back from being down two or three goals, as they did to force overtime in Game 5 on Monday night. But the fact that they put themselves in that position in the first place was head scratching. And while they came close to pulling out a tremendous comeback victory, they’re instead on the brink of postseason elimination.

Jonathan Toews scored twice within the final 1:50 of regulation, but Matt Beleskey scored just 45 seconds into overtime as the Ducks took a 5-4 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. The Ducks take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series; Game 6 is Wednesday night in Chicago.

Teuvo Teravainen recorded a goal and an assist and Patrick Sharp had two assists for the Blackhawks.

[MORE: Five Things from Game 5: Blackhawks season on the brink]

The end was dramatic and riveting. But it’s the beginning that loomed large. The Blackhawks were awful in the first 20 minutes unable to stop the Ducks in their end and unable to create anything in Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen’s end. When the Blackhawks finally got their first shot on goal — from Toews — more than 16 minutes had elapsed.

Meanwhile, the Ducks did whatever they wanted, scoring three goals — including Cam Fowler and Ryan Kesler’s within 32 seconds of each other — for a 3-0 edge.

“Certainly we didn’t start on time for the first time this series,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They talked about being ready, and that might have been the differential. But great comeback.”

It was that. The Blackhawks were down 4-2 after Patrick Maroon scored with 5:15 remaining in regulation. But they pulled Corey Crawford twice in the final two minutes, and Toews scored both times. His first shot hit off the iron and in to cut the Ducks’ lead to 4-3. His second, from the side of the goal, went off Andersen’s left skate and in to tie it 4-4 and force overtime.

“Even though they score three goals early in the first, we knew there was a lot of time and we just had to find our game and get our four lines rolling,” Toews said. “I don’t think it matters who you’re playing at this stage of the playoffs. If we were up three goals, we would for sure expect that their team would come back hard and try to dominate the next two periods. So we did the best we could.”

[NBC SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

But unlike previous overtime games, the Blackhawks couldn’t pull this one out. Bryan Bickell’s attempted dump-in shot went off Jakob Silfverberg, who tossed the puck to Ryan Kesler. While Corey Crawford stopped Kesler’s shot, Beleskey was there for the rebound and the victory.

The Blackhawks’ first period, arguably their worst 20-minute segment of the playoffs, was costly. Playing that poorly at any time is dangerous, especially against this Ducks team and especially at this juncture of the postseason. The Blackhawks almost got past it, thanks to Toews’ two late-regulation goals. Instead they return to the United Center having to win.

“We feel that we’re a tough team to get rid of. And now obviously the next game’s a must-win for us” Toews said. “A lot of guys, most guys, if not everybody in this room, definitely believe that that’s when we play our best when our backs are against the wall. So we’re ready for that challenge.

"As we say, it’s do-or-die. But we’ve got to move on, learn from the mistakes we made in this one. Really just throw everything we’ve got at them in the next game and try to keep this series alive.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

Should Kirby Dach see more ice time? What should the Blackhawks do with Erik Gustafsson? Has Robin Lehner separated himself in the goalie tandem?

Patrick Sharp and Charlie Roumeliotis join Pat Boyle to discuss that and much more on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Plus, you'll hear Robin Lehner's postgame comments after the loss to the Golden Knights and why he thinks the Blackhawks are "really close" to putting it all together.

1:08 - Blackhawks come up with best defensive effort of the season

2:52 - Changes made to the power play units

4:14 - Evaluating Erik Gustafsson's play so far

6:04 - Who fills in after the Connor Murphy injury

7:49 - Patrick Sharp remembers Patrick Kane rookie season

9:08 - What does the future hold for Kirby Dach?

12:04 - Struggles of the Blackhawks' top-six

14:44 - Another strong performance by Robin Lehner

16:33 - Lehner's strong post-game comments after Vegas loss

20:07 - How to handle the goalie-split going forward

23:25 - Biggest thing the Blackhawks need to improve upon

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'


Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

The Blackhawks are expected to be without defenseman Connor Murphy for "a couple weeks" after he left in the second period of Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights because of a groin injury, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game.

It's the same injury that sidelined Murphy for the season opener in Prague, which is unfortunate given his promotion to the top pairing with Duncan Keith has provided some stability on all three pairings. 

"Obviously that's a blow for us," Colliton said. "It's an opportunity for other guys. We think we need to continue to build depth. That's what we're going to need. We can't just play with six D or seven D all year. You're going to need more than that. That'll be an opportunity for other guys to grow."

Slater Koekkoek is serving as the seventh defenseman right now and he's the likely candidate to slide into Murphy's spot in the lineup. But the Blackhawks might be inclined to make a call-up from Rockford as insurance.

Dennis Gilbert started the season with the Blackhawks because Murphy and Calvin de Haan were not cleared to play overseas, so he's a potential candidate to be brought back up.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.