CHICAGO — Antoine Vermette turned a huge disappointment into a moment of pure joy. That is how it goes for the Chicago Blackhawks when the playoffs go to overtime.
Vermette scored at 5:37 of the second extra session, and the Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 on Saturday night to tie the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.
“I’m glad he finished it for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was a huge goal for us. Huge, goal, huge.”
Vermette, who said he was surprised and disappointed when he was left out of the lineup for Chicago’s 2-1 loss in Game 3, was stopped on his first try in front, but stayed with the rebound and shot it over Frederik Andersen for his second goal of playoffs.
Vermette worked out at the United Center during the Blackhawks’ first home playoff loss Thursday night. He wanted to stay ready if he got back in the lineup — and he made the most of another opportunity.
“At this time of the year, you don’t want to make an individual or a personal story,” said Vermette, acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline. “The main focus is about the team’s success. That’s all that matters. I’m glad we won tonight.”
Brandon Saad had a goal and two assists for Chicago, and captain Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist. Patrick Kane scored for the second straight game, and Corey Crawford finished with 47 saves — helping the Blackhawks stay alive when the Ducks had a big push in the first extra session.
Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey scored for Anaheim in a 37-second stretch of the third, and Andersen had 35 saves. Emerson Etem also scored.
“We always talk about highs and lows in the playoffs and we learn and move on,” Perry said. “It’s one game. We still have home-ice advantage. We were right there.”
Anaheim also lost to Chicago in triple overtime in Game 2. The Blackhawks are 4-0 in overtime in the playoffs, becoming the first team to win four multiple-overtime games in the same postseason, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Game 5 is Monday night in Anaheim.
Thumbnail photo via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images
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