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Anaheim Ducks stepping it up

By: John Galletley

The Ducks took the big postseason step they need by closing out Game 5 to take the series lead against the Blackhawks. Now they just need to close out the series.

The Ducks took the big postseason step they need by closing out Game 5 to take the series lead against the Blackhawks. Now they just need to close out the series.

Game 5 was almost a game in the Anaheim Ducks’ worst nightmares, as they nearly blew the win to the Chicago Blackhawks. But they were able to hang on despite the Blackhawks’ valiant attempts at a comeback. This was a game where the Ducks took a major step up as a team.

The stage was set in Game 5. The Ducks have had some tough losses to the Blackhawks in this series, losing to them in triple overtime in Game 2 and double-overtime in Game 4. Back at the Honda Center, this was looked at as a must win for the Ducks, otherwise the Blackhawks would take momentum for good.

In the early stages, the Ducks did a great job getting out in front, scoring three goals in the first period. For most teams, you would feel like this is game over and a game easily won. But the Blackhawks, you can never count them out.

The Blackhawks came out firing on all cylinders after a miserable first period where they got outshot, 11-3. In the second period, the Blackhawks recovered and started to take advantage of turnovers while playing much more aggressively to narrow the lead down to 3-2 and outshot the Ducks 13-5 in the second period. Then, Patrick Maroon scored late in the third period to seemingly put the game out of reach.

As stated earlier, the Ducks had every chance to wrap up this game earlier than they did, but they just couldn’t hold off the Blackhawks in regulation. The Blackhawks score two goals with under two minutes to go including the goal by Jonathon Toews that sent the game to overtime.

At that moment, everybody watching the game assumed the Blackhawks were going to complete the comeback and win in overtime. Much like they have done twice before in this series and four times this year in the playoffs. On top of that, the Blackhawks have not lost in overtime this year in the playoffs. Then, something amazing happened.

Within the first minute of overtime, the Ducks had a great two-on-one opportunity develop with plenty of open ice. Ryan Kesler had the original shot and Matt Beleskey was there for the rebound that resulted in the game-winning goal for the Ducks.

This was an absolutely shocking win considering the circumstances going into overtime. The Blackhawks are known as one of the most resilient teams in sports and it seemed like all of the momentum was on their side while everything was falling apart for the Ducks.

The Ducks have been in this spot before where they have had the opportunity to put away tough teams and blow it, such as against the Los Angeles Kings last year when they were up 3-2 in the quarter-finals and failed.

Frederik Anderson was allowing multiple soft goals against the Blackhawks, which suggested was an even bigger sign that the Blackhawks would win in overtime. The fact that the Ducks were still able to win this game after collapsing in regulation and their goalie having his worst game in the playoffs says a lot about this team.

They took a step up by winning a game that had everything working against them. It is the sign of a champion to win games that they don’t play their best in. The Ducks did this last night, which suggests that they may have grown up as a team and they have the signs that suggest they can become champions.

Just because this was a huge win for the team doesn’t mean they’re definitely going to finish it out. The Ducks can’t afford to let up and have to remember the type of team the Blackhawks are. The Blackhawks are a resilient team that doesn’t panic and has the ability to overcome obstacles.

Still, the fact that the Ducks are now in a position to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals is very impressive.

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Want to talk sports? John Galletley is the man to go to. He has been following sports of all kinds since he was a child but had a first love for baseball being in a family of Yankees fans. He also loves to travel and has used sports in order to do this including taking several road trips to MLB stadiums and other sports venues. John has always dreamed of working in the sports world and wants to make his way there as a writer in order to follow the philosophy of never working a day in your life if you love what you do.

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