ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Blackhawks are confident their depth will be a factor in their Western Conference final series against the Ducks. But after getting beat by Nathan Who?, Andrew Somebody and Kyle Whatzhisname in Game 1 on Sunday, they were off to a rough start.
With stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry scoreless, the Ducks’ not-so-vaunted third line of center Andrew Cogliano and wingers Kyle Palmieri and Nathan Thompson did most of the damage in their 4-1 victory over the Hawks at the Honda Center.
Palmieri scored off an assist from Thompson to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. After the Hawks had cut the deficit to 2-1 on Brad Richards’ goal late in the second period, Thompson scored a back-breaking goal, assisted by Cogliano and defenseman Hampus Lindholm to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead 12:05 into the third period. The third line combined for nine shots on goal and a plus-6 rating.
“They’re a dangerous team — all four lines can score. All four lines have speed,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They’re an attack team. They’re dangerous off the rush no matter who’s on the ice.”
That was evident throughout, but especially on Thompson’s goal, which came on a juicy rebound of a shot by Cogliano.
“We kept it simple,” said Pamieri, who had no goals and two points in nine playoff games coming into the conference final. “I don’t think we were making any crazy plays. My goal and [Thompson’s] goal, it was just throwing pucks at the net — getting to those rebounds and getting the dirty goals.”
The Ducks’ third line had combined for three goals and eight points, with a plus-7 rating in nine playoff games. Thompson missed the first-round series against Winnipeg with a lower-body injury.
“It’s just nice to contribute,” Cogliano said. “It makes a difference this time of year when guys chip in. [Getzlaf] and Perry carried the load the first two series. We’re hoping we can do the same in the third.”
The Hawks will see about that.
“It’s one game,” Keith said. “Their [third] line came up big. But we feel we have good depth on our team, too. We know we could have played better than we did today and we’re going to have to.”
But it wasn’t like it was a big surprise to the Hawks. They know what they’re up against.
“That’s one of the best part of their team is they have depth — they have four lines that can score,” Patrick Kane said. “That’s one of our strengths, too. They obviously had the edge in that department [Sunday].”
The Hawks fully expect to respond. Their third line of Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen — a potentially difference-making trio — did not score, but was active. The fourth line of Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and Andrew Desjardins didn’t back down, either. They just didn’t score.
“We generated all four lines,” Quenneville said. “We had our moments. But we didn’t cash in.”