Marcus Kruger tips Chicago past Ducks 3-2 in 3rd OT of Game 2, evening series

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Marcus Kruger deflected Brent Seabrook’s shot 16:12 into the third overtime and the Chicago Blackhawks evened the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa scored power-play goals in the opening minutes of the longest game in the Blackhawks’ 89-year history.

Chicago then played nearly 110 consecutive scoreless minutes in the longest game in Honda Center history, but Kruger got in front and made a fortunate deflection past Frederik Andersen, who made a career-high 53 saves.

Shaw attempted to end it during a power play in the second overtime by knocking a rebound into the net with his head in a remarkable soccer-style play, but the goal was illegal.

Game 3 is Thursday night in Chicago.

Corey Crawford made 60 saves as the Blackhawks finally handed the Ducks just their second loss of the post-season.

Corey Perry tied it late in the second period for the Ducks, who dropped to 9-2 in the post-season with their first home loss after missing numerous chances to end it. Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, which was shut out over the final 78:42.

These Western Conference powers came into the series with ample rest after easily winning their second-round series, but they used up much of that extra energy in a marathon Game 2.

Anaheim hadn’t played a game with multiple overtimes since May 3, 2009, while Chicago won two multiple-overtime games in the first round against Nashville. The game was the second-longest in Ducks history, trailing only a five-overtime game at Dallas in 2003.

Two days after Anaheim comfortably won the series opener to improve to 6-0 at Honda Center in the post-season, Kruger’s fortunate goal ended a nail-biting rematch.

It almost ended an hour earlier when Shaw made a spectacular play 8:47 into the second overtime, heading a high-arcing rebound of Patrick Kane’s shot into the net with his helmet.

While the Blackhawks celebrated, the officials briefly conferred before waving it off, since NHL rules prohibit players from deliberately knocking the puck into the net with anything except their sticks.

Perry put a shot off Crawford’s crossbar roughly 10 minutes into the first OT, and Sami Vatanen hit Crawford’s posts twice in extra time. Andersen made two enormous saves early in the second overtime, and Crawford matched him with a handful of stunners late in the period.

The Blackhawks never led in Game 1 while struggling to match the Ducks’ depth and going scoreless on three power plays. Chicago kept its bench short in Game 2, largely playing just four defencemen and relying on its top-end talent.

Instead, Kruger came up with just his second goal of the post-season.

Chicago capitalized twice in the opening 6:19 after poor penalties by the Ducks. Shaw and Hossa both scored their second goal in three games after nine-game droughts to open the post-season.

Anaheim had its first two-goal deficit of its entire 11-game post-season, but the Ducks’ vaunted third line quickly responded. Cogliano got credit for his third goal after Nate Thompson’s pass deflected in off his right skate.

Anaheim played a dominant second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-1 in the final 13 minutes. Perry finally evened it late, deflecting a long shot from captain Ryan Getzlaf for his eighth goal in 11 games.

NOTES: The Ducks had played into triple overtime four previous times, but all were on the road. … It was the 50th triple-overtime game in NHL playoff history. … Chicago made one lineup change, scratching D David Rundblad in favour of Kyle Cumiskey, who appeared in his first NHL post-season game since 2010. Rundblad was on the ice for Anaheim’s first two goals in Game 1. Cumiskey was under contract to the Ducks from 2011-13, but couldn’t crack the NHL roster. … Crawford left his crease after an offside whistle in the second period and ran into Rickard Rakell, falling to the ice on contact. The incident resulted in a scrum and appeared to energize the Ducks. … Chicago scored two power-play goals in 4:05 after scoring just twice with the man advantage in the previous five games combined.

Greg Beacham, The Associated Press