The Chicago Blackhawks took advantage of a critical Game 4 and tied up the Western Conference Finals against the Anaheim Ducks.After playing 17 periods in the span of four games, both teams are understandably exhausted and are trying to overcome the situation as a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals is on the line. As the series shifts back to Anaheim, the Blackhawks have the momentum to try and keep the wins coming.
Game 4 was another overtime struggle. The Blackhawks managed to get the win on a Antoine Vermette goal in double overtime that secured the 5-4 win. That was the second multiple overtime game in this series that has both teams trying to pull together whatever energy they have left. Big moments have been the headline of this series. Anaheim has made several simply mistakes despite not losing in overtime in the playoff run, but Chicago is making the most of big plays to get wins.
Defense has been the x-factor in this series. The Blackhawks are short-staffed on that unit and have been credited with 52 hits in Game 4, but they gave up three goals in 37 seconds in the third period which made for the overtime madness. Brent Seabrook is playing extended minutes as Anaheim continues to stick with their plan to simply beat up on the defense as much as they can. However, the Blackhawks are avoiding as many penalties as they can, spending just 22 minutes in the box compared to the 38 Anaheim has put up.
"This series is pretty amazing," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said, via ESPN.com. "Every game is very close, very competitive. The road to trying to win the Cup has some amazing swings and highs, lows and twists and turns. The deeper you get in series, it is all the more challenging. Our group's experience and know-how and the will to find ways, last night was a great demonstration of that."
The Ducks have been thriving on one-goal wins, something that could catch up to them in the coming days. Game 5 is critical as both teams would likely aim to avoid a Game 7. The chances this matchup is just as entertaining as the other four have been are pretty great.