The Anaheim Ducks managed to grab an overtime win in Game 5 against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, but they almost squandered the game away after Frederik Andersen had a really rough night in net for the Ducks. As Anaheim looks to grab another victory over the Blackhawks on Wednesday and move on to the Stanley Cup Final, Andersen must rebound quickly as he can’t expect his teammates to bail him out again.
The Ducks were cruising in Game 5 and had a commanding 3-0 lead after the first period with goals by Cam Fowler, Ryan Kesler and Sami Vatanen. The Ducks were very aggressive on defense, only allowing three shots on Andersen. It’s sometimes difficult for a goalie to stay focused when they see so little action, and maybe that came back to haunt him for the two following periods.
The Hawks picked up the pace in the second period as they started to get more opportunities on net. From being down 11-3 in shots after the first period, the Hawks had 13 shots on net in the second. Chicago came out and scored early in the period through Teuvo Teravainen, who shot a fairly innocuous shot that Andersen didn’t seem to detect in time.
Brent Seabrook added a second for Chicago late in the period after a nice feed from Teravainen from behind the net. Andersen lost his stick and was struggling to get it back and get in position for the shot by Seabrook, but the puck squeezed by Andersen on the low left side. Both goals were shots Andersen should have stopped, and it gave Chicago a lot of momentum going into the third period.
The Ducks went up 4-2 after a goal by Patrick Maroon, before Jonathan Toews scored twice late in the third to send it into overtime. The first Toews’ goal was a beautiful one-timer and no fault on Andersen, but the game-tying goal was a puck that he definitely should have had. Toews threw a puck from the corner that was in line with the goal line, and it went off Andersen’s skate and into the back of the net with less than a minute remaining in the game.
Luckily for Andersen, Matt Beleskey scored the winner for the Ducks just 45 seconds into OT. If the Ducks would have lost that game, it would have been all Andersen’s fault. The 25-year-old Dane got a lot of criticism on Twitter, by pundits and fans alike.
The question now is can he move past this poor showing and get back to the level of play he’s shown earlier in this series. Andersen was a beast in Game 1 with 33 saves and a couple of definite game-changing saves. Andersen’s numbers so far in the playoffs are really good, with a 2.08 GAA and a .925 SV%.
Andersen told the LA Times he’s not concerned with his poor performance in Game 5.
“For me it’s all about the next shot and it’s about the next game right now. So what happened last night, all that matters is we got the win,” Andersen said. “I think I’ve always been good at bouncing back and I think tomorrow is going to be a great opportunity again. It’s all about winning that one game and going to the Finals and that’s all my focus is right now.”
Andersen needs to back up his statement with a good performance in the next game. He will be tested, and there’s no room for error when playing the Blackhawks on the road in an elimination game. He got away with it in Game 5, but he can’t afford another bad game if he’s to realize the dream of competing for the Stanley Cup.
The Ducks are looking to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since winning the Cup back in 2007.