Blackhawks advance to Stanley Cup Final, Toews leads Game 7 win

Blackhawks advance to Stanley Cup Final, Toews leads Game 7 win

The Chicago Blackhawks captured their third Western Conference title in six years with a 5-3 win at the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 at Saturday night.

They’ll face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Tampa on Wednesday night.

Simply put: The Blackhawks stars were the difference in the last two games of the series.

Jonathan Toews had the first two goals in Game 7, after going plus-2 in Game 6 and scoring two more goals in a losing effort in Game 5. Patrick Kane, his linemate, had three assists in Game 7 after a goal and an assist in Game 6. Duncan Keith, the tireless defenseman, had two assists. Marian Hossa had a critical goal. Corey Crawford, Chicago’s goalie, made 35 saves.

In contrast, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were held scoreless in five of six periods in the Ducks’ Games 6 and 7 losses, before connecting for a late goal in the third period. Frederik Andersen made only 21 saves on 26 shots.

Bruce Boudreau dropped to 1-6 in Games 7 with the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. Joel Quenneville moved to 3-4 all-time in Game 7.

"Joel did a great job analyzing the series, trying to take their best players out of their game," said Toews after the win.

Toews opened the scoring just 2:23 into Game 7. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked a Ryan Getzlaf shot, and then the Blackhawks transitioned to offense. Brandon Saad fed Patrick Kane, who motored down the ice before feeding back to Hjalmarsson. He took the shot, Frederik Andersen left a rebound and Toews tucked it home while wide open. The Duck that was supposed to be defending him? Getzlaf.

Toews made it 2-0 at 11:55 of the first with a power-play goal, as his quick high shot beat Andersen glove side with an Andrew Shaw screen in front.

It was 3-0 just 1:18 into the second period when Brandon Saad had a layup of a goal, his sixth of the playoffs on a rebound of a Kane shot. Losing the puck at the half boards in his own zone? Getzlaf.

It was 4-0 on a controversial goal by Marian Hossa, as Andersen left another rebound, attempted to swat it away with his stick and saw Hossa direct it into the net with his skate. The goal counted, at 13:45 of the second.

Ryan Kesler finally got one back for Anaheim at 18:51 of the second to cut it to 4-1.

The Ducks found new life playing desperation hockey in the third, as Corey Perry scored his first goal in three games on an assist from Getzlaf to cut it to 4-2 at 11:36 – the first points for either player since Game 5.

But after Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler had to take a hooking penalty to slow an odd-man rush, Brent Seabrook fired it home on the power play for the 5-2 advantage.

Matt Beleskey scored a late power-play goal with Andersen pulled to make it 5-3.

For the Ducks, it was a 3-2 series lead they saw evaporate thanks to the Chicago stars and great coaching. And they were left wondering what happened to theirs.