(Reuters) - The Chicago Blackhawks tied their Western Conference finals series with Anaheim when they beat the Ducks 5-4 in double overtime in Game Four on Saturday.
The Blackhawks survived three goals in 37 seconds by the Ducks in the third period to bounce back and level the series at 2-2 when center Antoine Vermette scored 5:37 into the second overtime.
Vermette’s first shot was blocked but he pounced on the rebound to fire home past goalie Frederik Andersen from an acute angle and send the home crowd into a frenzy.
It was their second overtime victory in the Western Conference finals and their fourth in the postseason.
Vermette was left out of Chicago’s line-up for Game Three, but he responded to the omission in the best possible way.
“It’s not the ideal situation obviously,” he said of being sidelined.
“You want to make sure you come prepared and keep a good attitude. My job in that situation was just try to put myself in a better mindset and come to play and help my team-mates.”
The score was knotted at 1-1 after two periods, before the game exploded offensively with six goals in barely 10 minutes in the third stanza.
Chicago went 3-1 ahead courtesy of goals by Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook, before Anaheim fought back to take the lead with three goals in an astonishing 37-second burst, courtesy of Ryan Kesler, Matt Beleskey and Corey Perry. It was the second-fastest three-goal blitz by one team in playoff history.
But the drama was far from over. Right winger Patrick Kane tied it at 4-4 on a power play with little more than seven minutes left in regulation and overtime was needed.
The Ducks, seeking to take a dominant 3-1 lead in the series, had their chances in overtime but Chicago came closest to scoring when center Andrew Shaw hit the crossbar.
Anaheim had a temporary reprieve, setting the stage for Vermette to become the hero of the night.
Game Five is on Monday.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Amlan Chakraborty