After suffering a triple-overtime loss in Game 2 that finished early Wednesday morning, the Ducks had to figure out a way to not only regroup, but do so while overcoming the fatigue of playing in the second-longest postseason game in franchise history.
And they did.
But it wasn't easy.
Both teams, as expected, showed the effects of playing more than 116 minutes of hockey just 38 hours earlier.
The Ducks committed five uncharacteristic penalties — including three in the first period — in Game 3, but the Blackhawks failed to generate many scoring chances and came up empty on all five power-play attempts, showing it wasn't the only team struggling to find its legs.
"The teams looked tired," Ducks center Andrew Cogliano said following a 2-1 win on Thursday night. "And we were the ones that persevered."
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The Ducks cautiously admitted fatigue might have been a factor, but that doesn't necessarily reflect how they approached the contest and they weren't going to use it as an excuse when the game began.
"When the puck drops, you're in playoff mode," forward Patrick Maroon said. "I don't think you're thinking about being tired or taking a lot out of you.
"Obviously it's a long travel day for both teams, but I think mentally you got to prepare yourself, take care of yourself and move forward and just got to be ready for the drop of the puck."
What stood out the most was the Ducks' ability to respond to adversity against a Blackhawks team that had yet to lose a home postseason game.
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After taking an early 1-0 lead, the Blackhawks fired back with a late first-period goal by Patrick Kane that evened up the score. But the Ducks responded with a late one of their own from Simon Despres in the second period and shut the door in the final 20 minutes to take a 2-1 series lead and regain home-ice advantage in the Western Conference Final.
"We're a great character team," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "This is a character win."
And while they'll certainly enjoy resting on a win, the Ducks know the Blackhawks won't go away easy.
"It's going to take a very hard effort, better effort because they're going to come at us harder (in Game 4)," Despres said. "And it's going to be another hard-fought battle."