SPORTS

NHL playoffs: 4 things to know for Ducks-Blackhawks Game 3

05/21/2015 01:31 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 05:59 EDT
Some of the question marks for the Blackhawks and the Ducks have been answered the deeper the teams have gone into the NHL playoffs.

As the Western Conference final moves to Chicago tied at one win apiece, here are four things to know for tonight's Game 3 in Chicago (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).

Chicago's Crawford in command

Both the Blackhawks and the Ducks piled up plenty of goals in their first two playoff series, using size and speed to overcome their opponents. The biggest question facing each team was whether their goaltenders could stand up to powerful offensive juggernauts.

As the Blackhawks saw in Anaheim, where they gained a split of the first two games against the Ducks, yes, Corey Crawford is up for that challenge.

The Chicago goalie didn't get off to the greatest of starts in the first round against the Predators. He was pulled early in the series and replaced by Scott Darling before eventually relieving the backup in Game 6. Chicago won that game to clinch the series and Crawford's been exceptional ever since, including during a second-round sweep of Minnesota.

On Tuesday he stopped 60 shots in a triple-overtime game finally won by the Blackhawks 3-2 on a Marcus Kruger goal.

The Blackhawks remain the only team not to have lost at home in the playoffs, with a 5-0 record that they'll attempt to extend Thursday and Saturday at the United Center.

They are hoping one of their special ambassadors brings them some luck on a special day.

Ducks wear on Blackhawks' D

Anaheim's game plan has been to try to use its size to wear down the Blackhawks' defence, down to four workhorses since Michal Rozsival's broken ankle thinned the backline in the final game of the second round. The Ducks have taken every opportunity to get physical with them, but the Blackhawks have proven that Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson, their mainstays, are quite resilient, even into three overtimes in the third round.

The Ducks' big guns up front, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, weren't the scoring factors in the opening win over the Blackhawks, but it was a deft tip-in shot by Perry that tied Game 2, setting the stage for the lengthy overtime.

Andersen solid in net

The Ducks are quite pleased with the goaltending of Frederik Andersen, who at one point in the triple-OT game stopped 47 consecutive Blackhawks shot. It was Andersen who also sparkled in the series opener while the Ducks were being outshot, holding off Chicago until Anaheim was able to capitalize on its opportunities to earn a 4-1 victory.

Andersen has allowed only 22 goals in 11 playoff games.

Blackhawks thrive in OT

With the Blackhawks playing in the Western Conference final for a third consecutive year and for the fifth time in seven seasons, it's no surprise that they have the experience to handle pressure situations, particularly overtimes. Chicago has won seven of its last eight sudden-death overtimes — contrasting with the Duck,s who have won only five of 13 OT games since their Stanley Cup-winning 2007 season.

Crawford has played a huge role in the Blackhawks' overtime success. His 13 overtime wins are the most among active goaltenders.

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