Star power lacking for Ducks and Blackhawks in Western Conference Final

Star power lacking for Ducks and Blackhawks in Western Conference Final

Where are the stars in the third-round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks?

For two games here are the point totals for the dynamic duos on each team.

Anaheim

Corey Perry: 1G, 0A

Ryan Getzlaf: 0G, 2A (though one was on an empty netter)

Chicago

Patrick Kane: 0G, 0A

Jonathan Toews: 0G, 1A

You’d think that through almost three full games of hockey, because the last game went to triple-OT, that all four would have scored a little more? Nope, not at all leading into Thursday's Game 3 at the United Center with the series tied at 1-1.

The fact that the Ducks have contained Kane is fascinating. The 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner came into this series averaging over a point-per-game in the playoffs. He’s not even an exact career point-per-game player in the regular season, where checking tends to be a little looser.

“I mean, there's no slowing him down,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It's just delaying it. He's a very good hockey player.  He's going to get his chances. You can't slow him down 100%. You just got to acknowledge the fact that when he's out there, be aware.”

This has not gone unnoticed in other entities, via the Chicago Tribune:

Those numbers, at least, require some addition. Kane’s numbers do not. Kane’s numbers remain stuck at zero.The numbers that matter, anyway: zero goals, zero assists, zero points.

Kane has been checked hard and closely by the Ducks in the first two games of this series, but that’s always the case.

Per Natural Stat Trick, Kane’s CF% 5-on-5 the first two games has been 39.39 and 40.85 in Game 1 and Game 2 respectively. Kane’s also at 46.98 percent for the postseason 5-on-5 according to the website. He was at 54.03 percent for the regular season per the site.

If the cliché says your best players have to be your best players in the postseason, that simply hasn’t happened yet in this series, outside of maybe Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook for Chicago.

Getzlaf lost Chicago's Marcus Kruger in coverage on the Game 2 winning goal. Perry has been noticeably slower this series, maybe from Matt Stajan's Game 5 collision in the second-round?

For the Ducks, the trio of Nate Thompson, Andrew Cogliano and Kyle Palmieri has been its top. Kruger was the hero for Chicago with the winner in the Game 2 thriller. Andrew Shaw was like a stick of dynamite that game, and created one of the most absurd highlights we’ve ever seen.

Why have the stars been shut down and depth has prevailed? Probably because both teams have been so solid defensively, and prevented space and net-front presence. Chicago is one of the best at doing this in the league. The Ducks have also done an excellent job of clearing out loose pucks and not give Chicago those secondary rebound chances this series.

"I just think that positionally a lot of teams will box you out going to the net,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “Some teams you got a double screen if you're tying up in front of the net. We'd like to prevent the puck from getting in that area.”

Also each of the top two lines have been matched up against one another for Games 1 and 2. Ryan Kesler has gone up against Toews while Getzlaf’s trio has drawn Brad Richards’ group that includes Kane.

With the series moving to Chicago and the Blackhawks with the luxury of the last change, could this alter the proficiency of the series’ top guns?

“They’ve got the last change, that will be the biggest difference, the home crowd. That will be the biggest difference,” Boudreau said. “But I think the last two years we’ve won more road games than any team in the league. So we’ll take our chances.”

Game 2 barely feels like it’s over. That’s because the game simply took forever between the two squads, almost the totality of three overtimes before Kruger’s game winner in the third extra session.

The question of depth has been front-and-center. The Ducks can roll three pairs and four lines. Chicago can go with only two pairs, and pray Keith doesn’t get tired. 

Kimmo Timonen, a rock for his entire NHL career, just seems done at the age of 40. He has also brought sadness to many Finnish sweaters, whatever this means.

But at some point the guys who are getting paid absurd amounts are going to have to come through for both teams.

Is Game 3 that time?

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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