May 22, 2015 / 3:43 AM / 3 years ago

Ducks hand Blackhawks first home loss, lead series 2-1

(Reuters) - Anaheim handed Chicago their first home loss of the NHL playoffs on Thursday after a 2-1 win in Game Three put the Ducks ahead by the same margin in the Western Conference final series. Simon Despres broke a 1-1 tie in the final minute of the second period as Anaheim bounced back from a triple-overtime defeat in Game Two that tied the best-of-seven series.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres (24) celebrates with teammates Ryan Getzlaf (15) and Cam Fowler (4) after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Ducks winger Corey Perry told reporters that the team had refused to let that defeat get them down and they had focused on Game Three.

“We had our chances in that game, so be it. You move on,” he said. “There’s going to be roller coasters in the playoffs.”

On Thursday, Patrick Maroon gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the first before Chicago’s Patrick Kane tied it with under a minute left in the opening period. Ryan Getzlaf added two assists for the Ducks, tying his own franchise record with 14 for the playoffs.

Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen made 27 saves and stood tall in the final stages where the Blackhawks brought on an extra attacker to chase an equalizer. Kane looked to have a chance with five seconds remaining when he had the puck on his stick right in front of Anaheim’s goal but could not put it towards the net. Corey Crawford, who made 60 saves in Game Two, stopped 25 shots for the Blackhawks.

Crawford has stepped up his game after being benched for much of Chicago’s first-round series against Nashville.

Injuries and fatigue have taken their toll on Chicago and on Thursday centers Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen were both dropped despite being healthy. ”It was a tough game the other day with travel, I wanted to bring new guys in,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

“I thought we had a good start, when you get behind it’s a different game. We were playing fine until we got behind.”

Game Four is on Saturday in Chicago.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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